#stayhome is a prudent message during the coronavirus pandemic. But what if you need rehabilitation from an injury or surgery? What does #rehabathome look like?
First of all, please don’t misconstrue any of the following bits of information as overt medical advice. They are just general suggestions. Obviously, if you have any issues which have not been properly diagnosed, please seek the appropriate examination from a licensed healthcare professional. I’ll tell you how to do that a bit further down in this document. Right now I’m going to offer a few guidelines that you may find useful if you are trying to rehab at home.
- Determine if you have an acute injury, such as an ankle sprain or a post-surgical condition (remember that surgery is an injury) or a chronic problem, and understand where you are on the recovery spectrum. Specific, detailed information on how to do that is available in the articles Dealing with Injuries – Part 1 (Acute) and Dealing with Injury – Part 2 (Chronic).
- Remember that once you are past the most initial and very acute stage of an injury, movement is key to nourish the tissues by enhancing circulatory exchange. Safe, gentle, and frequent motion, when performed in a non-exacerbating manner, will bring in fresh oxygen and nutrients to the injured or healing tissue, and simultaneously expedite the removal of metabolic waste products. Motion is life and life is motion. This non-aggravating motion, whatever form it takes, such as walking or specific exercise, is usually very safe and effective at supporting your recovery. However, there may be times when moving into the direction of stiffness or soreness (not necessarily outright pain) is warranted. In most cases this will require the advisement of a rehabilitation professional, but there is some great information in the podcast Episode #062 – Should You Work Through Pain?
- It may be possible for you to continue with your training program, usually in a modified way, in the presence of injury. The important thing to keep in mind is that you want to maintain as much of your conditioning or fitness as possible while at the same time not compromising your healing and recovery from injury. This is indeed an art form and it’s discussed in detail in podcast Episode #066 – PT Basics…Training with Injury Using the Orthopedic Workaround.
So let’s say you used some of the information provided above but you still need a little specific help. To achieve your best outcome you’re probably going to need to work with a physical therapist. Most states allow direct access to PT’s, in that you can refer yourself and go directly to your therapist for evaluation and treatment. However, some states still require you to get a prescription from your physician prior to seeing your PT. Regardless, here’s where I share the details I alluded to in the beginning of this missive. In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, direct contact, brick and mortar access to PT is extremely limited and in most cases totally unavailable. Fortunately, PT’s provide services in telehealth capacities. This is what I call telePT and here’s a brief video explaining what it’s all about.
I’ve been providing telePT services for 5 years. Historically speaking, this model was originally established to provide access to PT services for people who faced hardships in getting to a PT clinic, such as having to travel great distances to get to an appointment or being homebound for other reasons. In the current coronavirus environment, this is a safe and effective way to get help with rehabilitation. It’s actually a model that just makes sense for a lot of situations where the real need is expert analysis and recommendations regarding movement and health. It’s the harnessing of what is now relatively simple and commonplace technology. You can read All About telePT here.
I’ve also been consulting with other physical therapy clinicians and practices on enhancing their telePT offerings. My ebook and webinar: Online Physical Therapy…A Guide to Developing a Telehealth Physical Therapy Practice, is a way that I’m giving back to my profession and helping other PT’s to create and refine their online services. If you’re a PT or you know one who might be interested in this product, just let them know and it will be my honor to work with them.
In closing, I’d just like to state that you are not out of luck during this pandemic. You can safely and effectively rehab at home. Use some of the common sense suggestions I provided, be creative, and consider a telePT session or two if it feels right for you.