Telehealth: Virtual PT

Telehealth: Virtual PT 389 129 Jennifer Lane

As we continue to navigate into uncharted waters, I have been looking for ways to stay connected with existing clients and future ones too. The virtual world is where many people are turning to stay in touch with friends, family and colleagues. Kids are taking classes on-line, work outs are being broadcast so you can stay at home, and happy hours are being conducted on sites like Zoom. Netflix even has created a way for you to watch your favorite show with a group of friends at the same time, which my daughter loves!

In the world of healthcare, there is a growing category called telehealth. “Telehealth is the distribution of health-related services and information via electronic information and telecommunication technologies. It allows long-distance patient and clinician contact, care, advice, reminders, education, intervention, monitoring, and remote admissions (Wikipedia’s definition)”.

How does this work with Physical Therapy? Well, there is much that can be accomplished via conversation with an experienced clinician. This is where my 18+ years of experience pays off for you! When I question patients about their current issues, complaints, limitations, I can formulate a good working hypothesis on what is going on. From there, the physical exam is performed to corroborate the hypothesis created during the interview. For the PT with years of experience, can then set a plan of care based on the therapy goals set.

When utilizing Telehealth for PT, the same interview process is done, and copious notes are taken. This is followed by a visual objective exam using a secure video platform that is HIPAA compliant. Both the PT and the patient can see each other via webcam from a computer or smartphone. Movement, posture, gait can all be assessed by this method. Following the evaluation, an appropriate home exercise program, as well as extensive information on how to manage the existing issue will be developed for you.  As is typical with in-person sessions, at the subsequent visits, treatment is modified according to how you are responding to the initial suggestions.

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is working diligently to get policies changed so that health insurances will reimburse for this. Colorado Medicaid has already authorized that telehealth can be used for its clients. The hope is that private insurance companies like Cigna, Anthem and United Healthcare will all follow suit and pay for these services. In the meantime, my cash pay rates apply. If you are a patient of mine that is currently receiving care, there will be discounted rates for follow-up visits. Please contact me directly via email, phone call or text if interested in seeing if a Telehealth visit would work for you.

What can be treated via Telehealth? Most everything that can be treated in person: Back pain, shoulder dysfunction, knee, hip or ankle issues, vertigo and pelvic floor therapy too. Contact me today to schedule an appointment.

What is Vertigo?

What is Vertigo? 1440 431 Jennifer Lane

Vertigo is often described as a feeling a spinning, dizziness, light-headedness, nausea or loss of balance. What causes it? It can be caused from inflammation to the vestibular nerve, inner ear dysfunction or another neurological problem. Some of the symptoms are blurred vision, sensation of the person spinning or the environment spinning, ringing in the ears, nausea and loss of balance. These symptoms have a profound effect on quality of life and can be very disabling to a person suffering from this.

Vertigo is a catch-all phrase for many kinds of dysfunctions. It is therefore important to get the correct diagnosis. Your physical therapist in conjunction with an Ear Nose and Throat doctor will be able to run tests to determine what is causing your symptoms. Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) causes severe sensation of spinning. According to its name, symptoms only occur in very specific head positions. It is caused by the otoconia, or crystals in inner ear becoming dislodged from the utricle and get stuck in a semi-circular canal. There are sensors in the semi-circular canals that get stimulated by the floating crystals and give the sensation of spinning to the brain. It can be diagnosed by a specially trained PT and is treated with a simple maneuver to move the crystals out of the canals and back into the utricle.

There are other diagnoses associated with inner ear dysfunction including Meniere’s, vestibulitis and labrynthitis. A specially trained practitioner should be able to differentially diagnose between the different causes of vertigo. Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) is a specialized form of therapy to treat both the primary and secondary problems caused by vestibular issues. Therapy will work on habituation exercises, gaze stabilization and balance training. Our ability to balance is governed by 3 separate systems in the body. The vestibular system (inner ear), visual system and proprioception are a redundant system so that if one is not working we are still able to balance and function. For instance, in a dark room, most people can keep their balance. Walking on sand or a soft surface doesn’t cause most people to lose their balance either. When one system is not working properly, the other 2 systems can be up-trained to pick up the slack. This is a key concept in VRT.

If you suffer from loss of balance, dizziness, ringing in the ears or spinning sensation, find a PT trained specifically in Vestibular Rehab. You don’t have to live with these debilitating symptoms.

For more information, keep reading!

Understanding Vestibular Disorders

What is BPPV?



Concussions in the Youth Athlete

Concussions in the Youth Athlete 420 280 Jennifer Lane

There are over 300,000 high school athletes that suffer from concussions every year. A study conducted at Northwestern University showed that the number of diagnosed concussions doubled from 2005 to 2015, female athletes experienced greater rates of concussions than male athletes playing the same sports.

This rise in numbers is due in part to athletes coming forward with mild and moderate symptoms as well as more attention being brought to the issue by schools, media and parents. All sports are seeing a rise in reported concussions but many still go unreported. Young athletes still tend to put their team ahead of their own personal health. They don’t want to let down the team during an important game so they don’t come forward to report symptoms.

What are the symptoms of a concussion? Symptoms fall in these following categories: physical, cognitive, emotional symptoms as well as sleep disturbances. Throbbing head, light sensitivity, nausea, lack of appetite, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, loss of consciousness, dizziness, blurred vision, slurred speech, appearing dazed or confused, delayed response to questions, ringing in the ears are just a few signs that you might observe.

What is the role of PT in recovering from concussions? For many years, healthcare providers prescribed rest and removal of all stimulation from a patient recovering from a concussion. But now there is mounting evidence pointing to a more active approach to concussion rehab. Physical Therapists’ expertise in treating vestibular (inner ear), cervical (neck), ocular (vision) and post-traumatic migraines makes them key participants in the rehab process. For patients to have the best recovery takes an interdisciplinary approach that can involve PT’s, physicians, OT’s, ophthalmologists, neurologists, speech pathologists, to name a few.

There are great tools out there to help diagnose for concussions. If you are suspicious of having a concussion or your child having one, go see your PT, athletic trainer, coach or physician. They can help you get a proper diagnosis. There are other tools available too. app for concussion testing. You can run baseline, sideline and return-to-play concussion tests using mobile app.

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