Welcome to the #LifeCantWait Blog, SPEAR Physical Therapy’s official stream for fitness tips, exercise advice, and healthy lifestyle inspiration. Our articles and features are written by our physical therapists and staff members with your progress in mind. Designed to educate and motivate, SPEAR’s #LifeCantWait Blog exists to share your stories and help you get back to life! Disclaimer
As we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath, we strive to always look through the lens of what is best for the safety of our patients and team members. To ensure we are keeping up with the latest news and protocols set by the experts and the CDC, we’ve implemented many different new procedures and safety precautions.
Clinic hours & operations will be open during our usual normal hours—for more information, take a look at our locations page to find the clinic nearest you.
Here is a more in-depth look at our current practices:
Safer In-Clinic Procedures
We are taking proper precautions necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone within the clinic. To do so, we are implementing extra pre-screening precautions. This includes temperature readings of all staff and patients, installation of sneeze guards at front desks, automation of paperwork/payment to limit contact, and frequent cleaning and disinfecting of all areas, both by our team and a professional cleaning crew. Patients will be asked to complete a phone screen prior to entering the clinic.
Employees will continue to follow stringent sanitation and personal hygiene practices, including frequent hand washing, and consistent disinfecting of equipment and treatment tables. All staff members will be provided Personal Protective Equipment, including masks and gloves, to be worn at all times. We will be distributing masks, free of charge, to any patients who may not have any on hand.
Telehealth/Home Care Visits
For those looking to stay at home, SPEAR LIVE, our virtual, online, physical and occupational therapy service, is 100% covered by most insurance plans. We also offer SPEAR On-Call, where our therapists travel to the patients’ houses, apartments, offices, or hotels.
Our goal with these services is to offer safe and effective care for all individuals, regardless of their comfort levels with traveling. SPEAR LIVE and SPEAR On-Call allow us to continue to treat those who need physical care but are unable to leave their homes. Availability is limited—please reach out to us directly for more information.
One requirement of our in-clinic safety standards is that everyone wears a mask. If patients do not have their own, we will gladly provide one for them, free of charge.
As we learn more information about the situation at hand, we will continue to adapt and evolve to meet the demands and needs of safety.
We at SPEAR have maintained an optimistic outlook about the future and what it holds. The reason our people get up in the morning every day to do what they do is for one purpose—to help others get back to life. We stand committed to this promise. This new clinic serves as an opportunity for more patients to receive the care they need, and as a beacon of hope for a bright future ahead for all of us.
Our second location in Brooklyn, this brand new space is located in the beautiful Park Slope neighborhood, and nearby many MTA lines, including the 2, 3, B, Q, and R trains.
Austin Afshar, Clinical Director of Park Slope – Union Street
Our newest Brooklyn clinic will be led by Austin Afshar, PT, DPT, CSCS, former clinical director of our Murray Hill – E 34th Street location. Austin has treated an extremely diverse population, including post-operative and sports-related injuries as well as neurological disorders. He has treated patients with neurological disorders ranging from cerebral vascular accidents, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, as well as treated patients in the intensive care unit.
Austin believes in treating his patients through evidence based practice, as well as through the utilization of education, manual therapy and therapeutic exercises. He hopes to help his patients obtain the best quality of life possible through improving their strength and functional mobility, allowing them to stay active and to continue to pursue the life they desire through meeting their personal goals.
With most insurance companies covering up to 100% of telehealth costs, and SPEAR’s in-network relationship will all major insurance providers, including Aetna, receiving the treatment you need is easier than ever.
Did you know: 100% of Telehealth costs are now covered by most insurance companies!?
The stress of the Coronavirus has impacted everyone in a multitude of ways. One of the most pressing matters on many people’s minds is how to continue receiving physical & occupational therapy treatment in the midst of this chaotic storm. With the launch of our newest telehealth service, SPEAR LIVE, we’re able to reach more patients from the comfort of their own home. We wanted to introduce this convenient option in order to reach more people who need our continued help.
While Telehealth has provided an avenue for continued physical & occupational therapy treatment, insurance companies realized how challenging it is to stay healthy during the stay-at-home orders: the nation’s citizens are logistically and financially burdened, and with these barriers, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to stay active.
To help combat this problem and help you continue your course of care, nearly all insurance companies have now decided to cover 100% of the costs of telehealth online physical & occupational therapy treatment!
This exciting new decision helps more insured patients receive the care they need, even if they are unable to travel to a clinic. With the accessibility of our in-home virtual appointments, it’s never been easier to stay active, build healthy habits, and upkeep the cadence of your physical & occupational therapy treatment.
Want clarity and confirmation on your insurance costs?
SPEAR LIVE works on any mobile device, including a tablet, laptop, and even a cell phone. If you’re able to video chat on your device, you’re able to use it with SPEAR LIVE! You don’t need to download any fancy equipment, either—we’ll send you over a link to access directly from your browser!
Now that the Coronavirus pandemic is keeping patients at home, telehealth physical & occupational therapy is in high demand. However, it is still an unknown service to many patients. Therefore, to help you understand what to expect with online, virtual therapy, we have compiled the most frequently asked questions about our telehealth physical & occupational therapy service, SPEAR LIVE. Watch and read below!
What is Telehealth Physical and Occupational Therapy?
What exactly is telehealth physical and occupational therapy?
Telehealth physical and occupational therapy is the use of electronic telecommunications technology to provide physical and occupational therapy services, instead of being performed in-person. Telehealth therapy utilizes online audio and video (very similar to FaceTime or Facebook Messenger, or any of the other video communications platforms available to the masses) to allow the patient and the therapist to be in separate locations and still conduct an appointment. Telehealth goes by many names and is often referred to as “online” or “virtual” therapy.
Will the telehealth visit be the same as an in-office visit?
Telehealth physical therapy visits will of course not include manual, hands-on treatment. The sessions are meant to fill in whatever gap you’re currently facing. Our Physical and Occupational Therapists are here as your resource! They are also typically around 30 minutes long. And, just like you’re used to, we will guide you through the exercises, give you new exercise progressions, or answer any questions you might have about your current issue (or any new issues)!
How will our sessions be as effective as in-clinic sessions?
We will structure the sessions however you’d like. I will make sure your home exercise program is updated and clear so you know what to do each day! These sessions have the potential to be even more effective than our in-person appointments by helping you independently manage your condition.
What are we going to do during the sessions?
We can do whatever you’d like during the session as we want it to be as meaningful as possible. We can go over home exercises, discuss modifications as you adjust to this new lifestyle, answer questions, progress exercises, and/or go over specific techniques.
What does the therapist do during the session?
Your therapist will base it off of what you prefer by asking you beforehand. Some patients are uncomfortable with the idea of a PT constantly watching them do the exercises. To make them feel more comfortable therapists do the exercises with them while providing cues. Other patients prefer that their therapist watch and provide concurrent feedback on their form.
How will I be able to still make progress in physical therapy without coming into the clinic?
You and your physical therapist will work together to come up with an integrated plan to manage your symptoms at home. The online sessions will be a means of communication about how you are doing so far and what else you can be doing to improve your symptoms during this time.
I don’t have much equipment or space at home, is that a problem?
Not a problem at all! You would be surprised how effective these sessions can be with little to no equipment. Your physical therapist will work with what you have in your home. We can get creative with household items and body-weight exercises to ensure the session is still challenging and progressing you towards your goals. Your PT can also provide links to purchase equipment if needed.
I’m worried I’ll disturb my neighbors and roommates…
Your therapist will let you know ahead of time what your treatment will be, so you can decide the best date and time to avoid disturbing neighbors. Many sessions will not require exercises or stretches that make any noise at all!
What Technology is Required for Telehealth Physical and Occupational Therapy?
What technology do I need for a SPEAR LIVE telehealth appointment?
We have intentionally made this the easiest process and technology possible! At the time of your appointment, you will simply receive an email with a link to click. Make sure you use Google Chrome or Firefox as the browser!
What devices are supported by SPEAR LIVE?
Any device that has a camera, internal microphone and can run the Google Chrome or Firefox browser will work! This includes virtually all smartphones, tablets and desktop or laptop computers
Do I have to download a new app on my computer? I’m nervous I won’t be able to figure it out!
No worries—getting started is easy! You won’t need to download anything—simply follow the link in the email we send you! The video and audio will automatically launch in your browser.
How Much Does Telehealth Physical and Occupational Therapy Cost?
Will telehealth physical therapy be half my copay since I am only there for 30 minutes?
Most sessions are about 30 minutes long, regardless of the condition to be treated, and most insurances are covering 100% of the costs of these sessions!
What will be my out-of-pocket costs be for online, telehealth physical therapy?
Most likely: $0, if you have insurance! Give us a call or fill out our appointment request form and we will confirm. If you pay with cash, the cost is $75. And even if your insurance does not pay 100% of the costs, your cost will be just the same as coming in for an in-person visit (for example, your copay/coinsurance).
Is telehealth physical and occupational therapy covered by my insurance?
Yes! In fact, during the COVID-19 pandemic, most insurance companies have agreed to cover 100% of the costs of online, virtual telehealth physical therapy! We can confirm your copay information prior to scheduling if you call or use our online form (insert numbers and links.
How Does Telehealth Physical and Occupational Therapy Work?
How do I schedule a SPEAR LIVE telehealth physical therapy appointment?
To get scheduled, you can request an appointment online, or give us a call at 646-518-5554. One of our Care Coordinators will be in touch to get you started!
Will SPEAR LIVE work for me?
The answer is most likely, “Yes!” Reach out to us with more information and we’ll be able to further assist you.
I am in a different time zone—can you accommodate my availability?
Reach out to us with your preferred date and time and we will work to accommodate you!
How long does a typical session last? Is the appointment length different depending on the type of session (e.g. initial evaluation versus a follow-up appointment; body part)?
Most sessions are about 30 mins regardless of condition to be treated.
I only have “x” number of visits in my calendar year plan, should I wait for in-person appointments?
Definitely keep your insurance benefits in mind to maximize the amount of sessions. We can decide the optimal frequency after evaluating you on your first telehealth session. The most important thing is setting you up so you continue to progress and build off of all of previous treatments.
How long will you be offering telehealth physical and occupational therapy?
As long as is needed! We want to make sure we can continue to provide physical therapy services until we are able to continue with in-person visits. And even after that, many patients appreciate being able to maintain treatment remotely for numerous reasons, including business or leisure travel.
Let this also be a reminder that our offices are still open should you wish to make an appointment in the clinic. We are going above and beyond CDC guidelines and ask that all in-clinic patients do the same!
Have you been experiencing pelvic pain lately? It may be due to stress! Pelvic Floor certified physical therapist Emma Codman, PT, DPT, wrote this informative post to help you identify triggers and treatment options:
Pelvic pain is a common condition affecting men and women. Pelvic pain can present itself in many ways, including but not limited to:
· Urinary– pain or burning in the bladder and pelvic region with urination
· Gastrointestinal– abdominal bloating, constipation, IBS
· Sexual– pain with intercourse
· Orthopedic– back or hip pain stemming from pelvic floor or hip muscle tension
Many different factors can impact prevalence and intensity of pain including stress. The body’s nervous system has 2 responses: rest and digest, which allows your body to perform life maintaining activities such as digestion, sleep, and using the bathroom, and fight or flight in response to stress which inhibits all “unnecessary” functions including digestion and urinary/bowel movements.
Skeletal muscles including pelvic floor muscles also respond to these cues from the nervous system by becoming tense with stress and relaxed with rest. This fight or flight state was once productive for our protection and survival in early years of evolution, however, in modern times with new stressors presenting themselves more often, the body can be in a state of fight or flight for a prolonged period of time. In this case, muscles might not be able to relax fully which can contribute to pelvic pain.
A pelvic floor physical therapist can perform an evaluation of the pelvic floor muscles and help release and stretch tight muscles to improve pain and muscle tension. They will also create a tailored stretching, mindfulness, and mobility program to help maintain and facilitate pelvic floor relaxation.
Techniques for calming the nervous system and relaxing the pelvic floor on your own:
3, 4, 5 Breaths
Breathe in for 3 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, breathe out for 5 seconds
This type of breathing helps calm the nervous system and improve overall stress over time.
There’s an app for that: try the Breathe app which uses music and sound to cue the breath for varying periods of time.
Focus on breathing in and out of the abdomen. When you inhale the belly should grow and when you exhale the belly will fall.
When you inhale into your belly, the air helps push the pelvic floor out and away from you which facilitates relaxation. When you exhale, your pelvic floor will passively retract into a neutral position.
Guided meditation involving paying attention to sensations throughout the body in a gradual sequence from head to toe. This facilitates total body awareness.