Telehealth: A New Option to Manage Your Musculoskeletal Health - Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy

Dr. Troy Vander Molen, PT, DPT

There’s never a good time to deal with an epidemic as significant as the coronavirus, but for many who are experiencing musculoskeletal (MSK) pain it has been even more challenging. We know that this has been a reality for many because we’ve spoken to many of you on the phone over the past three weeks.

Determining how to best help people like you who are experiencing MSK pain and/or difficulty moving has been a difficult decision for us at Kinetic Edge. We know that MSK complaints – conditions that cause people to say, “It hurts when I…” – are the second most common reason people schedule a visit with their doctor.

Deepest Thanks to the Medical Establishment

During this crisis, we owe a debt of gratitude to our local medical providers, their support teams, and healthcare administrators. Truth be told, we owe them that every day, pandemic or not. Their training and knowledge are expansive, and the demands on their time are great. These medical professionals work exceptionally hard, and they have been risking their own personal health to keep you, your family, and your neighbors healthy and safe.

There’s no doubt that this pandemic has made life extremely difficult on our medical establishment. Urgent care for our sickest and most susceptible neighbors has been the highest priority. Caring for the sick while protecting the healthy from unnecessary risk is a major challenge, and our medical professionals have stood firm. We have seen them rise to the occasion using the extensive skills and expertise they have developed over years of training and experience.

The Importance of Collaboration between Medical Professionals and Physical Therapists

Standard training for medical providers, however, does little to prepare them to understand and manage MSK conditions. A study by Bernstein et al to assess the prevalence of instruction in MSK medicine found that the number of US medical schools with required MSK instruction had increased from only 30-40% in 2003 to 83% in 2011. Most (79%) of these MSK courses are taught in the first two years prior to clinical training.

While this study demonstrated an improvement in the prevalence of dedicated MSK curricula, there are still questions regarding the resultant depth of MSK knowledge as only 15% of medical schools’ curricula have clinical training in MSK conditions as a requirement beyond classroom instruction. It is extremely important that medical providers and MSK experts work together to support each other, each group using their greatest strengths to serve you best.

That’s why Kinetic Edge has remained committed to keeping our clinics open. Like your medical doctor, we understand that maintaining and enhancing your ability to move is exceptionally important. Any MSK issue that reduces your ability to move is bad for your general health as poor movement ability not only reduces your functional capabilities but also increases your risks for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and depression.

How You Can Improve Your MSK Health during the Coronavirus Pandemic

To feel better and function better, you need to move better. Unfortunately, because of the coronavirus pandemic, fewer people are able to access the services of their trusted movement experts, their local physical therapists.

At Kinetic Edge, we are seeing 40% fewer people than normal, and we consider ourselves blessed. Iowa has been protected from the worst of it. We have consulted with practices around the country who have told us that a 75% reduction in business is not abnormal. Many PT practices have been forced to shut down due to reduced volumes. Thank you to our faithful clients for continuing to seek us out for solutions to their MSK needs!

Our Kinetic Edge clinics remain open. We continue to follow CDC recommended virus protection strategies, and we encourage you to come in to our clinic for your PT or OT appointment if you are not sick and don’t have a comorbidity that puts you at risk.

For those of you are sick or are in an at-risk population group, we are excited to launch telehealth services as an option to care for your MSK needs. If you are experiencing pain or difficulty moving, telehealth is the next best thing to working with us in the clinic.

What is Telehealth and How Can I Participate?

Telehealth is a physical therapy or occupational therapy experience delivered over the internet. A telehealth session allows you to interact directly with your PT or OT. A typical session lasts 20-40 minutes and includes everything you’d receive in a clinic-based therapy session except for the hands-on manual therapy treatment.

With this new development, now you can improve and maintain your MSK health in our comfortable clinic or from the comfort and safety of your own home. All you need is a computer or smart phone with video and audio capabilities, Google Chrome or Firefox web browser, and a reliable internet connection.

Most, but not all, insurance companies are now covering telehealth services. If you are interested in learning whether your health insurance will cover telehealth, just give us a call. We have friendly and helpful team members ready to perform a complimentary benefits check on your behalf!

Once you’ve decided that telehealth is the right option, another helpful and friendly team member, a Kinetic Edge Care Coordinator, will contact you to go through some preliminary paperwork and help work through any technology questions you may have.

We’re happy to make caring for your musculoskeletal pain a little less painful with telehealth services at Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy!