Have you ever wondered why, with all the information available on the internet, physiotherapists are still needed? Can’t you just use Google or an online symptom checker tool to get a diagnosis? There are also pages and pages of free treatment advice available on the internet.
The problem is that pain in a specific area or structure can have several causes, which all require a different treatment approach. It takes a good few years of clinical experience to be able to distinguish between them. The internet may offer several self-diagnosis services, but a recent research study found online symptom checker tools to be grossly inaccurate.
How can online physiotherapy work?
For anyone who has ever visited a regular physiotherapy clinic, the concept of taking physiotherapy online may be a bit baffling. Is physiotherapy not all about ‘hands on’ treatment? How can you diagnose an injury online without touching someone?
But have you ever asked your physiotherapist who they go to for treatment when they are injured? My answer is: “No one – I treat myself”. Most injuries can be self-treated as long as you have an accurate diagnosis.
A massage may make you feel better for a while, but my clinical experience and the current research suggest that it is the correct combination of rest and exercise that will fix you in the long run. Rest alone is not enough, as it leaves you with a weak area that can easily break down again. The same happens when you do the wrong exercises at the wrong time.
The value of having access to an experienced sports physiotherapist is that I can help guide you through your recovery process so that you know when you should hold back and when you can push your training a bit.
Benefits of an online physiotherapy consultation
• You have access to an experienced physiotherapist – not always easy to find.
• Flexible consultation times.
• Spending a lot of time travelling? You can have an online physiotherapy consultation from anywhere in the world.
• Your physio is in contact every week to find out how you are doing, progress your treatment plan and act as your conscience!
• Online physiotherapy consultations are cost effective. Low overheads = low fees.
How online physio consultations work
At Sports Injury Physio, I use my experience to provide you with an online diagnosis via an in-depth consultation using Skype.
The first part of the consultation is in the form of an interview, where you have the opportunity to explain the circumstances under which you were injured, your current training load as well as any factors that you feel may be contributing to your condition.
During the second part of the consultation I guide you through a thorough physical examination, just like I would do if you consulted me in my regular clinic. This consists of various movement tests which you perform in front of the webcam as well as pressing on different tendons, ligaments and muscles.
In most cases this information is enough to provide an accurate diagnosis. However, I may write to your GP to ask that they refer you for further investigation (blood tests, MRI scans, x-rays etc.) if I suspect a more serious injury.
I then use all this information to create a custom treatment plan that fits around your daily life and training. While I specialise in treating sports injuries, I also treat a variety of regular musculoskeletal (involving muscle, tendon, ligament, joint and nerves) injuries.
You will be provided with a detailed report explaining your injury and proposed treatment plan, including videos of your exercises. I will also always ask you to perform the exercises while you are doing your video consultation to ensure that they are appropriate for you. Your treatment plan may also include some self-taping or self-massage techniques and I can advise you on braces and off-the-shelf orthotic devices if needed.
You will be able to contact me during the following two weeks if you experience any problems with the treatment plan or have any other questions. The treatment plan will include everything that you should do for the next few weeks. It is up to you whether you continue with treatment after this, but your treatment programme will have to be adjusted as your injury heals to achieve full recovery.
No physio can provide a treatment programme that will guarantee a full recovery, since injuries heal at different rates for different people. You can book follow-up sessions which will be used to reassess your injury and provide you with an adjusted treatment and training programme.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Maryke qualified as a physiotherapist in 2003. She has an MSc in Sports Injury Management and is currently based at one of the UK’s leading centres for sports medicine.
Her sports experience includes working as a member of the medical team at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and at the 2015 European Games in Baku. She has also provided pitch-side support for various sports teams in East Sussex, including Brighton and Hove Albion FC’s Academy. This earned her a Silver Accreditation with the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Sports and Exercise Medicine (ACPSEM).
As a marathon runner and triathlete Maryke is also familiar with the everyday challenges that active people face when trying to recover from an injury. “I love all sports but much prefer to exercise outside and off-road. These days I swim, bike and run.”