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“The physio will Skype you now” – How online physiotherapy works

Updated: Jan 21, 2019

Remote worker Tom* booked into my online physiotherapy clinic from the Canary Islands after he had injured an elbow doing Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The injury kept him from fighting and hampered his strength training in the gym, and he didn’t want to wait until his return to the UK to get it fixed. I diagnosed his injury and gave him a bespoke rehabilitation programme via WhatsApp video and e-mail.

Tom is one of a small but growing number of people who have come to realise the value of online physiotherapy.

Maryke wearing headphones and busy doing an online physio consultation using her laptop.

“But how can you fix my injury without touching me?” you may ask. Most injuries can be self-treated as long as you have an accurate diagnosis and a sensible treatment plan, which we can do on a video call. A massage may make you feel better for a while, but it won’t fix your injury. My clinical experience and the latest research suggest that it’s the right mix of rest and exercise, prescribed by a physio, that will heal you in the long run.

My typical international patient is someone who doesn’t have access to a physio where they live. I also get English-speaking expats who can’t find an English-speaking physio.

And online physiotherapy is especially useful for people who can’t take time off work or find it difficult to travel with an injury to go and see a physio. They consult me on a video call right there in the comfort of their own home to get a diagnosis and a bespoke treatment plan. Obviously this is handy for people in far-flung locations, but also in the UK, where I’m currently based.

I’ve been a physio since 2004. I started offering my services online in 2014 and have seen the concept gradually gain acceptance. Business travellers, digital nomads and other regular users of video calls don’t find it strange anymore to access physiotherapy in this way. Soon it will be as normal for everyone as ordering groceries, take-out food or a cab online.

“After suffering from a severe height fall that resulted in a spine injury – an L4 compression fracture, I was in need of a comprehensive rehabilitation programme. Miss Maryke was kind enough to design a rehab programme that best suited my needs. I got dramatic improvements in terms of body flexibility. The Skype sessions were great and effective.” - I. Rhashad (Bangladesh)

  • Do you need a physio right now? No matter where in the world you are, you can book an appointment here.

  • No injuries or niggles at the moment? Good for you! But how about connecting with me on social media below so you know where to get hold of me in future? My Facebook Group offers loads of advice on how to stay injury-free in the first place.

*His name has been changed due to patient confidentiality.

About the Author

Maryke Louw is a chartered physiotherapist with more than 15 years' experience and a Masters Degree in Sports Injury Management. Follow her on LinkedIn or ReasearchGate