The team at Not Just Bendy provide the option of Telehealth physiotherapy for hypermobility in place of, or in addition to traditional face to face services. Telehealth services have been greatly beneficial in aiding people who have hypermobility and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome to access our care from all around Australia, from within the comforts of their own homes. Telehealth Physiotherapy services have been shown to be just as effective as in-person therapy, and takes place either via an online video platform (e.g. Zoom), or by telephone.
This provides the opportunity for:
- The ability to stay home but still access therapy if you are immunocompromised or fearful of heading out during the ongoing covid-19 situation.
- Improved access to our team of physiotherapists who have a special interest and holistic approach in managing hypermobility / Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
- A comprehensive dialogue surrounding your main concerns, and helping you piece together a better understanding of how your hypermobility contributes to a raft of symptoms including gut disturbances, pain, POTS, etc, and advising you on how to manage them
- A physical assessment looking at your posture and quality of movement through various functional tasks
- Crafting a holistic management plan including a detailed and specific home exercise program via an online exercise platform accessible via computer or phone app (Physitrack)
- Liaising with your local health practitioners if you live remotely, for better coordination and tailoring of your medical care
- Reduced travel time and cost
- The opportunity to continue to have your rehabilitation program monitored and progressed regardless of the health status of yourself and your close contacts
What research is there to support the use of telehealth?
- Telerehabilitation as a means of allied health and medical service delivery has been utilized around the world prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. Since its inception, research has shown that telerehabilitation is just as effective as traditional rehabilitation methods in achieving gains in function and pain reduction for people with musculoskeletal conditions (Cottrell et al., 2017).
- This benefit extends to the use of telehealth platforms to conduct exercise therapy in adults with a variety of physical disabilities, including cardiopulmonary, neurological, respiratory, and orthopaedic conditions. In a systemic review conducted by Dias et al. (2021), adults with a range of physical disabilities showed similar short- and long-term gains in pain, function and quality of life when participants underwent exercise therapy via telerehabilitation compared with other forms of rehabilitation.
- In the middle-aged population with chronic diseases such as diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, heart failure and COPD, the evidence for telerehabilitation to conduct patient education and teach management strategies was mostly favourable when compared to standard traditional care (Rush et al., 2018). However, results were slightly mixed partly due to the broad spectrum of telerehabilitation platforms employed (telephone consultations, video platforms, live chat websites, online lectures etc) in different studies, and a limited number of studies available for data comparison.
- Emerging data compiled by de Mata et al. (2021) has shown promising results in re-training pelvic floor muscles and reducing symptoms of stress and urge urinary incontinence in adult females using online education software and videoconferencing platforms. These benefits were seen after just 4 months and lasted for at least 2 years post-treatment.
- A recent study conducted over the COVID-19 pandemic showed that a twice weekly video-based telehealth low impact, moderate intensity aerobic exercise program for women diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, conducted over a 4-month period, resulted in improvements in anxiety and depression levels, pain levels, and less mechanical sensitivity to pain when compared to the control group who did not participate in exercise (Hernando-Garijo et al., 2021).
Real stories from our clients
The following is from Vanessa S., a Not Just Bendy Hypermobility Services physiotherapy telehealth client:
As a 35-year-old-woman with hypermobility and living in remote Queensland, I have found accessing telehealth for physiotherapy invaluable. This year has posed many challenges for everyone, however for our family the challenges felt rather extreme. In addition to 7 surgical procedures for various conditions in Brisbane, I experienced 9 hospital admissions in Brisbane where I required specialist care. This care was not accessible from Warwick, our home that I share with my husband and two-year-old son. The road from Brisbane to Warwick after each hospitalisation was long and windy, both metaphorically and literally. However the main challenge was being able to access the specialist allied health services I required.
This is where the telehealth services from Not Just Bendy Hypermobility Services were priceless. I was able to continue my physical rehabilitation program from home. Our sessions looked very different from in the physiotherapist rooms at her practice. Instead of my physio observing my posture and body positioning in her rooms, I would balance the laptop on the ironing board, and demonstrate my exercises in the lounge.
Sessions at home through telehealth were both practical (in that I couldn’t drive to Brisbane due to pain medication, nor did I have the strength and stamina for that amount of time in the car) and effective. Our sessions were followed through with a home-based exercise program utilising an app on my phone. This included prescribed exercises with a video demonstration and audio instructions. Using the app, I could also document comments for each exercise, what worked well and what didn’t.
Whilst I would love to have access to my physio in my living room every night to give me guidance, utilising telehealth in conjunction with the specific physical rehabilitation exercises prescribed is the next best thing. For us, telehealth provide access to a service that otherwise wasn’t accessible, due to living in rural Queensland. [FL1]
Frequently Asked Questions:
What if I need hands on physiotherapy treatment?
Sometimes, hands on therapy is useful in alleviating muscular pain. We can teach you techniques to release soft tissue tension by yourself using trigger point balls, foam rollers, and hand-held massagers. Some of our clients (from regional areas) visit us when they are in Brisbane seeing other specialists. For other clients we assist with finding a local physio to co-treat with or have discussions with their existing local team members to ensure that the treatment being delivered is hypermobility friendly.
What kinds of health rebates are available if I choose to do a Telehealth Physiotherapy for hypermobility consultation?
Telehealth physiotherapy services are currently recognized and rebated by:
- Various private heath funds
- Queensland WorkCover / SIRA
- Medicare rebated chronic disease management plan sessions
Am I able to have telehealth for Not Just Bendy Hypermobility Services Exercise Physiologist?
Yes you can – we have appointments with our exercise physiologist available. Rebates apply for all services listed above but we recommend you contact your private health fund for clarification as some do not support telehealth with an exercise physiologist.
I am not sure if I have hypermobility – where can I learn more about this?
This blog is a great introduction for you if you are only beginning your journey.
Cottrell, M. A., Galea, O. A., O’Leary, S. P., Hill, A. J., & Russell, T. G. (2017). Real-time telerehabilitation for the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions is effective and comparable to standard practice: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical rehabilitation, 31(5), 625–638. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269215516645148
da Mata, K., Costa, R., Carbone, É., Gimenez, M. M., Bortolini, M., Castro, R. A., & Fitz, F. F. (2021). Telehealth in the rehabilitation of female pelvic floor dysfunction: a systematic literature review. International urogynecology journal, 32(2), 249–259. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00192-020-04588-8
Dias, J. F., Oliveira, V. C., Borges, P., Dutra, F., Mancini, M. C., Kirkwood, R. N., Resende, R. A., & Sampaio, R. F. (2021). Effectiveness of exercises by telerehabilitation on pain, physical function and quality of life in people with physical disabilities: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials with GRADE recommendations. British journal of sports medicine, 55(3), 155–162. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2019-101375
Hernando-Garijo, I., Ceballos-Laita, L., Mingo-Gómez, M. T., Medrano-de-la-Fuente, R., Estébanez-de-Miguel, E., Martínez-Pérez, M. N., & Jiménez-Del-Barrio, S. (2021). Immediate Effects of a Telerehabilitation Program Based on Aerobic Exercise in Women with Fibromyalgia. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(4), 2075. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18042075
Rush, K. L., Hatt, L., Janke, R., Burton, L., Ferrier, M., & Tetrault, M. (2018). The efficacy of telehealth delivered educational approaches for patients with chronic diseases: A systematic review. Patient education and counseling, 101(8), 1310–1321. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pec.2018.02.006