Telemedicine and Chiropractic
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting CDC recommendations to stay home and practice social isolation, it leaves many moderate and high-risk patients with a dilemma. Do I venture out to the chiropractor’s office and potentially risk infection (for more information about the precautions at our office click here) or do I stay home in pain often unable to sleep or perform daily activities? This can be especially troublesome for older patients who need to move around as much as possible to manage known risk factors like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. One growing new option for patients is chiropractic telemedicine appointments.
What could a chiropractor do?
At first thought, it may seem that Telemedicine and Chiropractic are not a good fit; chiropractors rightfully have a primary method of treatment that requires hands-on and in-office care. But with a closer look you may realize that with the right chiropractor, telemedicine is, in fact, an ideal fit and may benefit you or your loved ones greatly.
Determining a diagnosis, in-office or out, comes down to a review of symptoms and understanding of what types of activities and movements irritate and aggravate the injured area. Clues include what makes it feel better, what makes it feel worse, and the type of pain – dull, sharp, burning, numbness, or pain that travels down an arm or leg. To enhance the in-office care of spinal and extremity manipulation and soft tissue work, chiropractors’ minds are also constantly working on the biomechanics of the workplace, of home, and of play; utilizing their neuromuscular expertise to provide appropriate exercises, stretches, and lifestyle changes.
So much more than an adjustment
With this understanding, it’s easy to see how chiropractic and telemedicine can work to relieve you or your loved ones from pain during this unusual time. A properly determined diagnosis will help identify if the concern would respond to home care or if it is one that needs immediate attention in-office or with your primary care physician.
If home care is deemed appropriate, then it is simply providing the patient with action steps and resources to self-treat at home. This can be in the form of ergonomics at home or in the home office (as the case is for so many right now!), changing the way you perform a household chore (raking for example), and offering resources in the form of stretches and exercises. A follow-up telemedicine appointment is recommended within 7 days to ensure that all instructions are understood, any new concerns are addressed, and that outcome is as desired.
Telemedicine – We got this!
Luckily at our office in West Des Moines, we were prepared to take on this new challenge as we already give our in-office patients easy home care exercises and stretches that are proven to help with every diagnosis we treat in the office. Our home care packets include descriptions of your problem, treatments offered in the office, and then a large home care section of modifications, stretches, and exercises.
Access from across the State
One nice part of offering telemedicine is it allows patients to access chiropractors like the ones at our office despite the barrier of physical distance. This means patients hundreds of miles away from the office can access telemedicine services. Current laws in Iowa allow statewide teleconferencing with respect to health insurance usage towards telemedicine although it may vary by insurance plan and state. Luckily for this type of service, the COVID-19 pandemic has loosened up the restrictions on this service so that patients can have better access to this type of care.