Perspective over Circumstance

Floor to ceiling televisions on each wall, rows of silent box houses, and replicants replacing my friends? Okay, okay… clearly my imagination gets the best of me from time to time. Fahrenheit 451 and Blade Runner are a bit too fresh on my mind. Realistically, though, it’s easy to feel cynical about the future of in-person interaction given the current state of our world. By the time we can return to “normal,” will everyone have decided that it’s easier to remain remote?

On the other hand, technology has been instrumental in bringing us together during this time. As I mourned my inability to be with loved ones this spring, I reflected on those who, years ago, sent their loved ones off to war without any way to communicate in real time… often not knowing if their loved ones would even return.

Today, we have the ability not only to speak from afar in real-time, but to see each other’s faces, coordinate scheduling, and conduct appointments.

Enter telehealth.

Telehealth has arrived and is here to stay. Thankfully, the emergence of telehealth brings with it an abundance of new opportunity, the greatest of which is arguably the ability to serve individuals in rural communities. Without telehealth, patients in rural communities must often travel long distances if they wish to see a physical therapist.

This deters the receipt of care to begin with, and limits the frequency of engagement for those who do choose to receive care. Telehealth breaks through geographical barriers, opening the door to a new market for traditional physical therapy practices.

In addition to HIPAA-compliant telehealth, PtEverywhere.com equips therapy service providers across the globe with cloud-based scheduling, documentation, billing, and home exercise programming tools to enhance both the effectiveness of patient outcomes and of the practice’s bottom line.

Organization and efficiency foster optimal time management and, as follows, the potential to take on more patients and grow one’s practice. What else? More patients and less admin time — not to mention decreased overhead costs associated with remote and traveling practices — afford physical therapists the ability to serve patients at a lower cost.

For cash-based practices especially, providing the highest quality care at a fair and competitive price proves essential to creating a competitive advantage and sustaining continuous practice growth.

In these challenging and ever-fluctuating times, we hope you too will employ PtEverywhere to drive and blossom your therapy practice. We may be unable to dictate our circumstances, but we can certainly dictate our response. Through innovation and connectedness, we will emerge stronger on the other side.

Now We’re Stressed Out

I don’t know about you, but these days I’ve been battling tight traps, hunched shoulders, and jaw pain like never before. Most (if not all) of us are bearing much greater loads of stress than usual. At times we’re aware of this stress, but often it exists as a subconscious thrum, wearing on us over time.

I realized the extent of this for myself a few weeks ago, when I woke up in the middle of the night grinding my teeth, shaking, and overcome by waves of nausea… My first response was, of course, “well crap, I’m sick!” As I gained awareness of my racing breath and pounding heart, however, it became clear that my physical symptoms were ultimately the manifestation of my mental condition.

And I’m not the only one! As I conversed with friends, clients, and physical therapists alike, it became clear that many of us are facing similar scenarios. After all, there’s only so much stress we can handle before it starts affecting us physically. This often begins with exhaustion and escalates to muscle tension, resulting in poor posture, exacerbated muscle imbalances, and pain.

On top of the stress, many of us are spending long hours staring at computer screens, craning our necks as we attempt to work from our couches, and finding ourselves sedentary for even longer stretches of time than “usual.” These conditions perpetuate the same tension detailed above.

What’s more? With limited access to gyms and in-person fitness classes, many are omitting exercise from their routines. Even as a fitness professional, responsible for teaching online fitness classes and providing HEP, I’ve found myself struggling to keep up the motivation to exercise. It’s easy to feel burnt out when the options are limited!

Unfortunately, reducing activity is (in most cases) the last thing we should do (see: “Dealing the Magic Drug”), once again perpetuating stress, tension, poor posture, muscle imbalances, and pain.

What does this mean for PT?

On one hand, the physical consequences of the pandemic increase the demand for physical therapists, creating an opportunity for physical therapy practices. On the other hand, increased demand plus the challenges of telehealth can easily make for burnout and added stress. PtEverywhere recognizes the challenges of this time and remains committed to helping you prevent burnout and overcome the obstacles of telehealth through an all-in-one mobile software. PtEverywhere.com is designed to simplify your practice management through the coordination of scheduling, payments, charting, HEP, telehealth, messaging, and more… all working together seamlessly! The objective is that through the promotion of organization and efficiency, PtEverywhere relieves your stress so you can more effectively provide for your patients.

Dealing the Magic Drug

We live in a world riddled with disease and discomfort. Obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, chronic inflammation, anxiety, depression, musculoskeletal imbalance… and right now? COVID-19. The last of these has many of us reflecting on our health more than ever before.

Our culture has us looking for a quick fix… cue the fad diets and magic pills. Realistically, however, do these things really work? Or are they just the trendy stops on the road to a better quality of life? Exercise could be the occam’s razor of this chaotic season – when it is easy to feel defenseless.

Not only are we concerned about the health of ourselves and our loved ones, but we find ourselves overwhelmed with information, often struggling to understand the scope of the issues we face. This chaos can (understandably) leave us feeling entirely out of control.

Thankfully, there is something we can do. Each one of us has the ability to strengthen our own internal line of defense: the immune system. Physical Therapists are in a unique position to guide us in behaviors that will increase their bodies’ natural ability to fight off disease, empowering them to take control of their health and improve quality of life. What’s more? Through HEP, home exercise videos, and the daily health tracker, PtEverywhere.com empowers therapists to empower their patients!

Exercise helps immune cells to function effectively by increasing blood flow and lymphatic drainage, reducing stress, and strengthening antibodies.

• Increased Blood Flow: Increased circulation improves nutrient delivery to key organs of the immune system including the bone marrow and spleen. On the other side of that coin, improving blood circulation increases the body’s ability to flush out waste.

• Increased Lymphatic Drainage: The Lymphatic system is the body’s first line of defense, transporting and filtering the fluid that carries antibodies, lymphocytes, and bacteria. It takes the “good guys” (antibodies and lymphocytes) to the frontlines and carries away the “enemy” (bacteria). Movement is central to lymphatic drainage, as, unlike the circulatory system, no internal force is pushing the lymph into circulation. Exercise very literally pushes the lymphatic system into defense.

• Decreased Stress: Largely due to the hormone corticosteroid, stress reduces the body’s ability to fight off antigens, increasing susceptibility to infection. Further, chronic stress puts additional strain on the circulatory system, limiting the functions listed under the “increased blood flow” header. In slowing down the release of stress hormones, facilitating endorphin release, and allowing for mental space, exercise is one of the best ways in which individuals can reduce stress.

• Strengthened Antibodies: Exercise causes a shift in white blood cells, increasing the speed by which they circulate through the body, such that they may be able to identify infection sooner than they would otherwise be able.

In addition to the above bullets, exercise temporarily increases body temperature. Similarly to a fever, this temporary rise in body temperature may prevent bacteria from growing and increase the body’s ability to fight off infection. Lastly, exercise helps to cleanse the lungs, potentially clearing respiratory pathogens

The role of your Physical Therapist is now more important than ever. PTs get us into position to move optimally. Not only this, but they educate us on the benefits of a decision to take our plan of care seriously. By educating and prescribing HEP, PTs provide not only the “how,” but the “why.” The “why” is often what motivates patients to move beyond temporary practices to sustainable lifestyle adjustments, as physical therapists create a lifelong positive impact on their patients. In the current age of telehealth, this extra boost of motivation and accountability makes all the difference. Movement is medicine. Your physical therapist is here to help – and can do so even more successfully through PtEverywhere!