AUSTIN (KXAN) — While it may seem like a lot of the world is taking a break, riding out the pandemic, chronic pain doesn’t stop, leaving people whose doctors’ offices have closed, feeling like they may not have many options.
Dr. Jarod Carter, who practices physical therapy in Austin, says he’s trying to help those patients.
“Stay home and stay safe, but, you know, don’t stay in pain,” Carter said. “There are options if you’re dealing with something like that.”
Carter is providing telephysical therapy.
“We’re a very hands-on practice, and so I and my patients had our doubts, and now that we’ve done a handful of them since closing our clinic doors this week, we’ve all been really pleasantly surprised,” Carter said.
Carter has made videos of at-home tips and tricks for patients, before, and now, he says he’s incorporating that into patient-specific online appointments. He says those appointments are guiding patients through video chat to do what he’d usually do hands-on.
“Now, it’s just like, ‘Okay, grab a lacrosse ball, grab a foam roll, do exactly this,’ and now we re-test that movement, ‘Oh, wow. It’s so much better,'” Carter said.
Carter says his at-home exercises can treat anything from serious injuries to those just incurred by the coronavirus outbreak.
“A patient called the other day and said their back pain had flared up because they’d been binging Netflix for like the last five, six days. I was like, ‘Alright, let’s hop online, I’m going to show you the stretches to do,’ and it knocked it out,” Carter said.
Carter says a number of other physical therapists across the Austin area are offering online sessions right now, too.
“So, if someone out there is dealing with pain and they haven’t asked their physical therapist about that, just canceled their appointment, ask them, say, ‘Can we meet? Can we do one of these telehealth things?’ Because there’s no reason for people to be losing the progress they made, or if they weren’t getting treatment already, to think, ‘I’ve just got to sit at home and be in pain,’ Because there’s so much that can be done,” he said.
For patients whose physical therapists aren’t offering online sessions, Carter says he’ll take new patients online during the outbreak. He’s also discounting appointments about 50% of what they’d cost in his clinic, in hopes that it will encourage people to stay home.