The physical therapy industry has evolved during the COVID-19 era to include Telehealth. Typically, my job as a Pelvic Floor and Women’s Health Specialist is up close and personal, since I treat the muscles “down there”. I cue the patient’s muscles I want to work. I use my hands to guide a patient’s limbs through the movements. My hands are my other pair of eyes that can “see” the muscle knots and intuitively follow the trail to a problem spot. Now I need to do all this virtually, which naturally raises the question from my patients, “Umm….How exactly are you going to do this?”
My response: “Easily! It’s all about communication”. Though my hands may seem to be the biggest part of the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment when a patient is in the office I am always actively listening, carefully selecting verbiage, and deducing. Successful TeleHealth sessions with patients who seek care for pelvic floor conditions only means I need to truly rely on these skills even more.
I become more of an investigator through my words than my hands. When I do need information that my hands would previously tell me I ask for assistance by having my patient palpate (touch) a spot and describe what they are feeling. For Example: Does it hurt?; Does it burn?; Does your own touch make the area feel better, worse, or no different? Scrutinizing all patient feedback and communicating as simply as possible is more important than ever. With our collaborative effort, my patients have made gains since the Telehealth era started. I look forward to treating more patients that are unable to travel to me, whether it be due to the current pandemic or if it’s a snowy day in the future!