Life has changed immensely in a short span of time – for all of us. I thought when we closed the clinic doors for in-person appointments that it would be for a week or two maximum. Yet here we are, over a month later…still closed with no definite idea of when we may be able to open.
As a professional who has always spent more time with people than computers, I have been stretched to shift my personal and professional life online and get more comfortable with screen time. Quite honestly, I had low hopes that virtual physiotherapy was going to be that great, especially with our clinic having a strong focus on advanced manual therapy/hands-on therapist training and treatment. However, it’s actually been surprisingly worthwhile, both for me as a therapist and my clients – according to the feedback we continue to get.
So I am sharing the top three things I’ve learned about virtual physiotherapy treatment over the past month in an effort to convince some of you who may be on the fence to give it a try:
1. Less Dependency on your therapist to “just fix it”
I’ve heard it so many times from my clients: “Kat, can you just fix it for me?” The truth is for most things if we “just fix it”, you will be back in here for another session next week or next month and will never truly address the source of the issue.
Having no choice but to shift the focus to “why is this happening and what can I actively do in my life to make it better today?” puts the power of shifting the pain back in your hands. I now see people being more open to strategies they can use to help relieve pain themselves when it happens and learn how to do some of the techniques that I may have been able to provide with my hands using balls and towels and rollers. I don’t usually spend so much time teaching these things, but they are actually quite effective.
The result: Increased confidence that our clients can actually help themselves when the pain happens and may not always need a hands-on treatment with me in the future. Research has always supported that an internal locus of control means greater feelings of happiness for most of us!
2. More time for self-care strategies
As a follow-up to the last point, having more time in the day to allot to self-care techniques such using rollers and balls to work on restricted joint mobility or relieve tight muscles has become something that clients are telling me they really enjoy doing and are making efforts to carve these out as mini-breaks in their work day at home or as a before-bed ritual.
3. More time for exercise during the session and also in our client’s lives.
Usually, I tend to only give clients 1-3 exercises to do at home as everyone is so busy with their lives and doesn’t have much time to do the programs we give them. I now have clients saying that they are open to longer rehab exercises programs or even two-phase ones where we alternate days for the programs.
This means that more progress can be made in strengthening during this period and we can a lot more time towards exercise prescription and problem solving, which again sets clients up with more tools to use to help themselves.
Despite this being a challenging time for all of us, there are gifts waiting here for us to embrace if we choose to.
Having a professional help to set up one of these routines can mean that instead of sitting at home watching Netflix all the time and getting tighter and more sore, you can be working on progressing your rehab program so that when you are able to come back in for some hands-on in-person care, you can pick up right back up where you left off…or even better be closer to not having to see us anymore! Always the ultimate goal.
Further questions about our Telehealth Virtual sessions? Please feel free to call us and speak with a physiotherapist about the details at 604-812-4286. We are answering phones 7 days a week.
Take care and hope to see you soon…maybe on a virtual visit!
Registered Physiotherapist and Clinic Owner