Online Physiotherapy: How does it work?

Over the past year, the world has changed like we could have never imagined. We have had to embrace new ways of doing things, especially since the first lockdown in March 2020. This has seen a huge increase in the use of “tele-health” or online medical services, which is something we have adopted here at Bridge Health & Wellbeing. We continue to offer face-to face-physiotherapy. But in some circumstances, it may not be appropriate for you to come to the clinic, so having an alternative option is great.

How does online physiotherapy work?

In most cases, we use Zoom for our online appointments. This allows us to see one another and communicate very effectively. We will ask you to talk us through all of your symptoms, causes of pain, functional restrictions and relevant past medical history. This subjective assessment is vitally important and is just as easy to conduct online. It also means we can screen you for any serious pathology. We can then discuss your goals and what you want to achieve from your recovery.

Our physiotherapist will then ask you to perform a number of movements so that we can look at your range of motion. We may ask to “self-palpate” different areas to see how your soft tissues feel. Then we will ask you to carry out certain exercises which we can use as tests to see how certain muscles function and how a structure tolerates load. This gives us more than enough information for a clinical diagnosis. We can then begin a treatment plan.

Follow up appointments work in the same way whereby we can review your pain and symptoms, progress with your exercises, retest your movements and then look to progress your treatment plan.

Should I just wait until I can see you face-to-face?

In some cases, just waiting can be ok. But any injury that causes you pain and swelling or has a significant impact on your life/work should be seen as quickly as possible. If we are confident this can be managed remotely then online physiotherapy is a great place to start. Delaying seeing anyone will most likely delay your recovery in the long run. So we would definitely recommend making contact with the clinic as soon as possible.

The benefits of online physiotherapy:

  • Fast access to physiotherapy in the comfort/safety of your own home
  • Provision of a diagnosis and treatment plan
  • Review of progress and progression of exercises
  • Reassurance and advice
  • Education on your injury/condition

Online Physiotherapy is an excellent addition to the clinical services here at Bridge Health & Wellbeing in Christchurch Dorset. It is proving extremely valuable through the covid pandemic. Although it is a different or alternative way of providing therapy, it is by no means a second-best. So please do contact us for an appointment on 01202 473800 or email

Paul O'Connell, Physiotherapist at Bridge Health & Wellbeing in Christchurch, Dorset

Paul O’Connell (MSC, BSC, HCPC, MCSP) is a physiotherapist with two decades of clinical expertise. He has worked right across the UK, from North Yorkshire and London to Hampshire and Dorset. Sports medicine is one of his areas of special interest: he has worked both on the touchline and in sports injuries clinics, and now lectures on the Sports Therapy programme at Bournemouth University. Having spent several years managing physiotherapy and health assessment teams in two key Nuffield Health hospitals, Paul also has an extensive understanding of orthopaedic surgery. 

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