The Coronavirus pandemic has left few communities untouched. At writing, the Australian Department of health officials have reported 709 confirmed cases. Worldwide that figure is 226,800 with over 9500 deaths. There is a new term online, ‘Corona Virus Anxiety’ as we all prepare for the possibility of isolation.
Health practitioners have long observed that anxiety and pain conditions commonly go together. Only recently researchers have discovered that “pain, anxiety and even depression” share similar biological mechanisms*.
So with anxiety levels increasing, pain in the community will go hand in hand. And with access to your physio or whoever looks after you becoming more complicated, we talked to physiotherapist Paul Trevethan about the option of online physio consultations.
“We’ve been doing online physio for corporate clients for years. We track results and outcomes that are very similar to what we see face to face in the clinic”. ~ Paul Trevethan
Paul Identified 5 Reasons Why Online Physio Treatment Actually Works:
1. THE EVIDENCE SUPPORTS VIRTUAL PHYSIO
In short, the research backs it up. Firstly, there are good studies showing that outcomes are similar, if not better than face to face care(*2). Studies have also identified there is no increase in misdiagnosis between online care and seeing someone in the clinic (*3).
“This figure is actually more affected by the experience of the clinician which is a super important factor” ~ Paul Trevethan
2. HANDS ON TREATMENT VIA ONLINE PHYSIO CAN STILL HAPPEN!
With Telehealth physio, patients are actually talked through, one on one, how to free up tension and ease pain. The physio uses normal items around the house, balls, broom handles, whatever is handy to show you how to do it. It’s important to be guided and help yourself correctly for your specific condition. When that works, you can then use those skills to help yourself now and long term.
3. ONLINE PHYSIO WORKS BEST AS A PROGRAM
When having physio treatment online, it works best as a program. You will normally have your initial appointment. This works best if they can spend a bit of time with you, usually around an hour. Then depending on the condition, they will often run it as a package anywhere from 1 week up to three months. The physio will go through reviews, home programs, answer follow up questions to keep you on track.
4. PHYSIO TREATMENT OVER THE NET IS COST EFFECTIVE
Because your plan involves a full program with the longer first treatment then shorter follow ups online, costs are reasonably low and the savings can be passed on.
“Basically the physio can get to the core of the issue and talk you through treatment skills straight away. Then there are multiple follow ups that don’t take too long. Progressing your program via teleconference, answering questions and tweaking strategies are all included. That way you can ease pain and achieve your goals the same, just a lot cheaper than in clinic care” ~ Paul Trevethan
5. TELEHEALTH PHYSIO TREATMENT YOU ARE IN CONTROL
We asked Paul how outcomes could be similar or better than treatment in the clinic. “We aren’t 100% sure why research continually supports that finding. I think it’s related to the change in focus of control. In the clinic, the patient relies on the physio to ‘fix’ them. With online physio consultations, the focus is squarely on the patient. They’re shown exactly how to free stuff up, ease pain, to strengthen. They do it and they get results”.
”With online physio, we like to empower people with video resources so they have a clear reference of their techniques and skills, basically how to support themselves long term so they can ease pain and keep it away for good” ~Paul Trevethan
Unnervingly, two days have passed since commencing this article. 226,800 cases, 9,500 deaths is now 283,100 cases and more than 12,400 deaths (Australian Government, Department of Health figures). Other resources report more. It seems Corona Virus anxiety is not completely unfounded.
It is important we all do the right thing… Stay calm, look after each other and support as best we can. Pain is linked to the anxiety of this epidemic. Online physio treatments may more and more, play an important role in that support and care.
1) Missig G, Mei L, Vizzard MA, et al. Parabrachial PACAP activation of amygdala endosomal ERK signaling regulates the emotional component of pain. Biol Psychiatry. 2016.
2) van Egmond MA1, van der Schaaf M2, Vredeveld T3, Vollenbroek-Hutten MMR4, van Berge Henegouwen MI5, Klinkenbijl JHG6, Engelbert RHH2. Effectiveness of physiotherapy with telerehabilitation in surgical patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Physiotherapy. 2018 Sep;104(3):277-298. doi: 10.1016/j.physio.2018.04.004. Epub 2018 Jun 19
3) Suresh Mani, Shobha Sharma et al. Validity and reliability of Internet-based physiotherapy assessment for musculoskeletal disorders:
a systematic review. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare. 2017, Vol. 23(3) 379–391