Learn tips for maintaining a healthy body during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
“Listen to your patient; he is telling you the diagnosis,” – Sir William Osler
Telemedicine is the utilization of technology to maintain a doctor-patient relationship without a physical presence. Whether realized or not, most physician encounters involve verbal and non-verbal communication where objective and subjective information regarding the history and personal impact of one’s symptoms are relayed. A comprehensive physical examination can still be performed through telemedicine.
Today, telemedicine has advanced capabilities to provide a user-friendly, HIPAA-compliant environment where the doctor and patient can focus on one-on-one communication without common inconveniences of clinic visits (traffic, parking, waiting rooms, etc.)
Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, Medicare and most PPO insurance companies have loosened restrictions on telemedicine visits, giving much-needed access to patients to receive the care they need while maintaining social distancing recommendations.
In addition to meeting in person when things are not that great (pain or injury), telemedicine allows patients to receive a vital component to their health…preventative medicine. Also known as pre-habilitation, support can be provided to people, young and old alike – regardless of functional capacity – to maintain an optimal state of health during these times.
From a musculoskeletal perspective, keeping active and avoiding injury is crucial. It is not uncommon for sedentary behaviors to “catch up” to us and have old aches and pains resurface. Our bodies are constantly repairing cells and are dependent on healthy mechanical activity.
- Prevent deconditioning
- Maintain endurance
- Prevent stiffness
- Retain muscular strength
- Reap additional benefits:
- Improved immune system
- Improved sleep
- Decreased stress
- Minimize pain
- Minimize risk of recurrence (flare up) of prior spine, joint or tendon problems
Telemedicine allows everyone to be a part of “concierge” medicine and visit with a specialist from the convenience of their own home.
- Get expert advice on orthopedic or spine conditions.
- Full medical care services: prescriptions for medications, radiographic tests and exercise programs.
TOP 5 EASY THINGS TO DO IN QUARANTINE TO AVOID CHRONIC PAIN
By Dr. Joshua Mazalian, DPT, OCS, CSCS
There is a lot of pain going around. People suffering from a severe illness. Family members grieving over lost ones. Financial pain. One area in your life that you can have some control over is your body. Taking care of your musculoskeletal system will keep you from experiencing pain, racking up medical bills later on in life and keep you in a functional state.
If you want to be able to pick up your kid and not worry about your back going out, take a jog without knee pain, or get rid of that pesky neck tension that you keep attributing to stress, your joints and muscles will need some attention like you give other aspects of your life.
Here are 5 things you can do to improve your muscular and joint health through these turbulent times:
- Take a deep breath (and not for the reason you think) – Many people start to have rib mobility issues as they get older which can have a big impact on shoulder and neck health. When you stop exercising and become more sedentary, you don’t get as much expansion of the ribs and you know the saying “if you don’t use it you lose it”. Try taking 10 deep breaths a day in a row with focus on your ribs expanding (I know people like belly breathing, but that’s another discussion). Each breath should be deeper than the last one. You can actually get some oxygen to the brain and keep your rib cage loose.
Alternate Exercise: Want to take it to the next level, try using some shoulder movement to assist your rib cage with Deep Breathing with Shoulders
- Become more stable – As much as you want those 6-pack abs, the beaches are closed so what’s the point? Instead, focus on core stability. Keeping your core stable is the best way to avoid back strains and promote proper muscle activation (see #3 about Glutes) and posture.
- Don’t go GLUTEn free (sorry for the horrible play on words) – Isolating and tightening each glute muscle is key to keeping your back relaxed. The glute muscles are possibly the most inhibited muscles in the body due to various reasons (excessive sitting, improper exercise technique, etc.) Keep them on at all costs by activating them during walks, when sitting down (or standing back up) and even activating them while lying down while watching Netflix.
- Build your arch – Tight calves and improper gait patterns can lead to flat feet (which takes a toll on the whole body). Try building your arch muscles in the foot and lengthen your calf muscles to improve the area of the body that takes the most impact with standing and walking. These joints accept all the force and translate that force up the body, but don’t get nearly the attention they deserve. Without good feet and ankles, you don’t stand (pun intended) a chance.
Try the Calf Stretch with Arch every day for a better translation of force during walking which leads me to….
- Go for a walk (and not for the reason you think) – Yes, walking can get you fresh air and a reprieve from the cabin fever everyone is experiencing. It can also maintain the hip flexibility that allows you to take long strides. If you are sitting or lying down more, chances are your hamstring and hip flexors are tightening up.
Alternate Exercise: Forward and side lunges in place (Not a fan of walking lunges because of the lack of control and stability)
Dr. Joshua Mazalian, DPT, OCS, CSCS is the owner of JAM Sports and Spine and Co-owner of LA Orthopedic and Pediatric Physical Therapy in Los Angeles and specializes in sports and orthopedic physical therapy. You can reach him on Twitter and Instagram @jamsportsPT and Facebook as well as email at email@example.com. For pediatric patients, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: JAM Sports and Spine Physical Therapy and LA Orthopedic and Pediatric Physical Therapy are proud providers of TeleHealth Physical Therapy
- Avoid if you have:
- had fever in the past 7 days
- have shortness of breath or palpitations or chest pain while walking around in your house
- You have leg swelling
- STOP immediately if you develop any of the following and get help immediately:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Dizziness or Lightheadedness
- BREATHING EXERCISES
- Boxed breathing technique – aids in diaphragm and lung expansion, reduces stress and anxiety
- PEDAL PUMP – improves circulation, reduces risk of blood clots, prevents contractures and reconditioning
- HIP AND KNEE BENDS
- LEG RAISES
- PARTIAL SQUATS AGAINST A WALL
- CAT-CAMEL STRETCH
- OVERHEAD STRETCH
- UPPER AND LOWER BACK REACHES
- CERVICAL ROM
- SIT TO STAND
10 STEPS TO IMPROVE YOUR POSTURE
- Stand shoulder width apart
- Take a deep breath in through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth
- Shrug both shoulders up together
- Roll your shoulders all the way back while shrugged
- At the same time, drop both shoulders in this position (think about reaching for the floor)
- Slowly roll your neck side to side, then chin to chest and look upright, then in slow circles (first clockwise, then counterclockwise)
- Take nice slow breaths throughout as in #2
- Stand with your back against a wall. Make sure your shoulder blades are touching the wall, if possible.
- Place your index finger near your top lip and slowly pull away in a direction that combines backwards and upwards movement (think of pulling away from a bad odor). Your chin should be in a slightly tucked position and you should feel a stretch in the back of your neck.
- Maintain nice slow breaths throughout as in #2
EXERCISE: HELPING THE FIGHT AGAINST CORONAVIRUS
Regular exercise may reduce the risk of developing – or reduce the severity of – a severe and often fatal complication of COVID-19 virus called acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Read more…
Research suggests that even a single session of exercise increases production of a powerful natural antioxidant which can help prevent tissue damage. (Yan and Spaulding 2020)
- ARDS is estimated to affect 3-17% of people afflicted with COVID-19.
- CDC estimates that 20-42% of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 develop ARDS.
- ARDS has been shown to have an approximately 45% mortality rate.
- A powerful natural antioxidant known as extracellular superoxide dismutase can protect our body and help prevent disease. Our muscles naturally make this antioxidant which is released into our bloodstream. This is enhanced by cardiovascular exercise.
Dos and Don’ts During a Pandemic:
- Maintain social distancing
- Avoid sick contacts
- Wear a mask when outdoors
- Avoid high sugar and processed carbohydrates
- Stay hydrated
- Get sufficient sleep
- Practice stress-reducing techniques such as mindfulness, yoga, meditation, practice kindness and gratitude
- Walk/jog/run/bike in less crowded areas
- Avoid more than 1 hour of continuous screen time and sitting before taking a break that includes breathing and walking
Self Hands-on Medical Treatments to boost immune and respiratory systems (Learn more about Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine – OMM)