There are definitely two types of people in this world. Those who seek the help of Physiotherapists, Osteopaths or Massage Therapists, and those who just live with their aches and pains. Which are you?!
I’m one of those who lives with their backaches, tight muscles and minor injuries when they pop up. I’ve always kinda thought it went with my occupation – working in fitness. I’d only ever seek help when really necessary!
Over the past 6 months though, I started to make more of an effort to look after my body, beginning with leading online foam rolling classes. These sessions made a noticeable impact on my recovery from exercise but there were a few things foam rolling couldn’t fix.
It was a timely opportunity to get to try out the Online Physiotherapy Service offered by Ascenti.
Who Are Ascenti?
Ascenti is the leading provider of physiotherapy in the UK with a national network of 300 clinicians. They serve the NHS, insurers, private businesses as well as pay as you go customers.
Before face-to-face treatments were stopped, Ascenti already had a patient app which was used by clinicians to provide tailored exercise programmes for patients. When the global situation changed, Ascenti updated the app to integrate virtual consultations and more.
For example, I was able to directly book and manage my appointments through the app and also leave comments or message my physiotherapist in order for him to track my progress.
How Online Physiotherapy Works
Once my initial appointment was booked, all I had to do was download the Ascenti Physio app from the app store. During the booking of my appointment I did share what my issue was – very sore neck, shoulders and back from taking an awkward nap!
When it’s time for your appointment, you simply have to open the app and when your therapist initiates the consultation, it will look like a phone-call coming through, which you just answer.
I’m always worried about forgetting appointments but Ascenti were great with text reminders. I used a Quad Lock Desk Mount for my phone, placed ontop of my laptop table to have the screen eye level.
Get Set Up For Working From Home
The diagnosis I got from my first online physio consultation was that my work from home set up was probably not doing me any favours. To be honest, when I worked in an office I was all over my set up!
But having worked and studied from home for a few years now, I’ve gotten used to sitting on my bed, my sofa or sometimes at the desk that I do actually have.
Steve – my physio – gave me loads of tips on how to get set up properly after visually assessing the mobility of my neck, shoulders and upper back.
Steve also advised me on how to treat my trouble areas through the application of heat and gave me a set of exercises to do daily. The exercises are accessible in the app, complete with instructional videos.
The Power of Accountability
Anyone else guilty of not doing the exercises given to you by your physio?!
Yeah. Me too. Which is one reason I really liked the app. It has the facility to tick off your completed exercise each day and to leave feedback for your therapist.
My adherence was initially quite low because the level of pain experienced was low – if it was a 9/10 pain, I would 100% do it more consistently!
There was definitely flexibility in various aspects here.
Firstly, I had my appointments every two weeks, rather than weekly. This meant I had time to really implement the exercises I was given into my daily routine. Steve was also able to edit and update the exercises to provide progressions after our appointment.
By the time my third appointment came, I had managed to pick up another injury – or rather aggravate an old injury. For months I had suffered with what was diagnosed as piriformis syndrome and when it finally went away, I didn’t even notice!
But it came back when I went along to a workout at Farm Fitness and did too much, too soon! Having not lifted much weight in the preceding 6 months, an intense workout was probably not the best idea.
Anyway, Steve listened to my woes, and then added some new exercises / stretches into my programme along with talking me through how to deal with the injury.
Responsibility and Self Care
Now this is probably the main question you will have when it comes to online physio.
How does a chat with a physiotherapist compare to seeing a physio in person and getting that immediate relief that comes with hands-on therapy?!
Well, I wondered the same too.
Essentially, seeing a physiotherapist virtually comes with a level of responsibility for your own self care. You need to allow up to two weeks to really see the benefits of the exercises you are prescribed and it comes down to consistency. You need to be consistent to see the results.
Once you’re discharged, you still have access to the app for up to a year (from the date of your original assessment) so you can access the exercises and video to continue to self manage your issues.
It’s pretty easy to just stop with stretching and strengthening when we see improvements but it’s probably at that point it becomes even more important in order to prevent a recurrence, huh?!
Although many clinics have re-opened, I’m personally still trying to avoid using public transport and being around too many people so having the option of seeing a physiotherapist via video call is appealing.
It’s great to have another option especially when appointments might be limited and being able to work on improving your issues at home is an added bonus.
Is online physio something you would try?!