How can physiotherapy and osteopathy help you remotely?

It’s easy to see why people may wonder what the benefits to a remote consultation might be, we are after all manual therapists. But the manual part of the job really only forms a small portion of what we do. It’s a bit like a West End show, quite a lot of background work has to be done before you can pull a rabbit out of a hat. For one thing, you have to find  the right hat.

We spend many years training at undergraduate level and then continue to train once we have qualified to stay on top of the latest research and approaches to optimise the wellbeing of our clients. And by that I mean the whole client, not just the part of your body that is complaining.

In the first instance, we ask a lot of questions; being nosey is part of our job. We want to know everything. Not just about where you feel discomfort or restriction, but how you use your body and what are the demands you and others place on it and your time?

It’s how we approach every client – in an integrated fashion where every aspect of your lifestyle is examined to find not just what symptoms you may have, but why you have them and how to prevent them coming back. We are exceedingly skilled at diagnosing musculoskeletal complaints and at finding novel solutions to your bio-mechanical problems. And what this new normal calls for is novel solutions, like using a tin of beans to roll out a sore muscle.

And because we like research and work in an evidence-based way, we have actually done quite a bit of research into remote consultations. Research which predates the current COVID-19 crisis.

Here are some published benefits to remote consultations:

(From: Hohenschurz-Schmidt et al, (2020), Remote MSK: Good Practice for video and phone consultations. [Webinar Slides]. (Accessed: 27 March 2020)).

  • It saves on travel time. No need to find childcare or take extra time off work. Also no need to break the Government lockdown
  • In some scenarios, both patients and practitioners actually reported better outcomes and satisfaction amongst clients
  • there is no evidence for worse outcomes, and what that means is that the evidence shows this kind of consultation is safe.
  • In certain chronic, stable conditions, remote management was in fact more beneficial.
  • Remote and face-to-face consultations had a comparable quality of care

(Salsbury et al, 2013. Kruse et el, 2017.  Russel et el, 2010.  Totten et al, 2016.  Williams et al, 2018.  Berryhill et al 2019.  Igñatowicz et al, 2019.  Donaghy et al, 2019.  Hammersley et al, 2019)

And here are some of the things you can expect during your consultation:

  • a full case history and a differential diagnosis.
  • cover any updates on your health as usual
  • signpost regarding forms of pain-relief
  • do orthopaedic testing and some special tests
  • ask screening questions and refer where necessary for testing, imaging or specialist care
  • check your alignment and movement patterns via video
  • demonstrate and advise on exercises. A personalised programme can be emailed to you afterwards for reference.
  • demonstrate and advise on self-treatment using balls and foam rollers, or even household goods like tinned goods or a wine bottle which is fantastic for relieving aches and pains
  • make lifestyle recommendations to support your posture, nutrition, sleep and hormonal health
  • and best of all, support you with wonderful stress-busting, immune-boosting breathing and relaxation techniques.

Take care, stay safe and see you online.