With businesses reopening, there has been an increase in people seeking physical therapy and rehabilitation.
“I think people are more comfortable when they are able to address their terms. It has increased my patient flow over the past few months, ”said Meg Spicer, a chiropractor at her Spicer Chiropractic practice in San Mateo.
Dr. Meg Spicer works on Katherine Mamaril at Spicer Chiropractic in San Mateo, CA.
As the vaccine opens up and stores open, more people seem to be more comfortable with it, but also because they know it’s a safe place, she said. Spicer continues to examine patients who come in.
“A lot of people were really scared and didn’t know what they were getting into or what was going on. And I was one of the few places most people ever went because they all worked from home, ”she said.
She works with people with general illnesses and chronic problems, including those who have back injuries from lifting objects or injuries from a car accident. It covers a wide variety of chiropractic conditions as well as ergonomics, soft tissue, and movement.
It opened at the start of the pandemic in May 2020. It was deemed essential by San Mateo County, the city of San Mateo, and the state of California, which enabled it to continue handling the pandemic. At first, she tried virtual visits, but found that the technology was an obstacle for some people who did not have access to the technology to make virtual calls and chats. It also made it more difficult to guide her through exercises where she couldn’t physically address them and treat her injuries, she said.
“I really couldn’t help them fully,” she said.
Brianna Quade, front, works with a patient at Aero Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine in San Mateo.
However, at Aero Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine, television viewing was found to be effective.
“If you’d asked us two years ago if telemedicine was possible for physiotherapy, we’d probably have laughed,” said Geoff Lew, co-owner of Aero Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine at the San Mateo site. Its other location is in Burlingame.
It continues to offer telemedicine visits and will likely remain as an option for patients looking to conduct remote sessions.
“As physiotherapists, we are very much educators. We teach patients about their bodies, their injuries, their prognosis. That can be conveyed very easily via telemedicine, ”he said.
It’s a little harder to teach exercises because a therapist can’t physically guide patients, but the positive aspect is being able to see the patient’s current situation through the remote visit and offer advice on how to do their rehab exercises, Lew said .
Many patients were withdrawn during the pandemic, but luckily there weren’t many emergency rehab cases. Now many are calling for appointments and one hopes to be 100% busy again soon, he said. “Patients are trying to get in. They have great faith in the vaccine, they are very comfortable, ”he said. “When San Mateo got into the most lenient stage, people really came back.”
When the pandemic broke out in March, it closed and reopened in June 2020 with a capacity of 25%. The clinic has around three to four physical therapists a day, and they had to spread their patients more spread out and work fewer days to avoid duplication of staff and patients. Now it’s busy at around 80%, Lew said.