Physical therapists treat patients diagnosed with a variety of ills, and our lumbar spine specialty practice in New Jersey’s focus on conservative treatment protocols has made physical therapy one of our most frequently-used tools. But the coronavirus crisis has changed everything in American life.
People are working from home in makeshift offices that are far from ergonomically designed. Patients who had previously experienced back pain are feeling it even more, and stress and poor posture have created a whole new set of people suffering from neck and back pain.
Though we are supposed to remain socially and physically distant, medical providers continue to see patients, and physical therapy is considered an essential service. But many patients do not want to risk living their homes during the state-imposed self-distancing period. For them, many physical therapists are offering online services.
Though virtual physical therapy is a far cry from inpatient treatment, many physical therapists have created innovative ways to help their back and neck pain patients. One of the most valuable of these is teaching patients home exercises that they can do on their own to relieve discomfort.
Though therapists admit that there are challenges to the modifications, they believe that by sending out exercises by email that include pictures of proper positioning, then watching patients perform them via Facetime or Zoom, they are able to provide valuable feedback, talk to patients about their pain levels and how to manage them, and more.
Many physical therapists who work with back pain patients are essentially spine specialists, and that is particularly true of those who work with our lumbar spine specialty practice in New Jersey. They have an in-depth level of knowledge of the injuries that can befall the neck and lower back, as well as the therapies that are best to treat them. They focus on the neck and lower back, as well as the shoulders.
In the online sessions that are taking place, physical therapists say that they are putting extra emphasis on helpful stretches that they know will provide patients with relief.
Stretching the neck from side-to-side, doing hip stretches and forward leans, stand-up stretches using a chair and wall push-ups are all excellent tools for improving posture and stretching and strengthening muscles, especially if patients are diligent about making them part of their daily routine.
They are helpful both to patients who’ve been suffering from chronic back and neck pain and for those who are newly uncomfortable based on spending too much time sitting or lying in unhealthy, unfamiliar work positions.
With far fewer patients coming in for appointments, many physical therapists have launched YouTube channels and created videos for their Instagram accounts and websites to guide their patients through helpful exercises rather than leaving them vulnerable to bad advice that could exacerbate their injuries.
If you are finding self-quarantine is adding to your back or neck pain, we can help. Contact us today to learn more.