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Annette Greenway, a yoga instructor from Efland, North Carolina, attended her first physical therapy appointment with University Physical Therapy virtually since the start of COVID-19 pandemic.

Jo Gupta PT, PhD
Jo Gupta PT, PhD

Greenway said she was initially not sure as to how a telehealth visit would unfold, but as a first-time PT patient, she was happy to give it a chance.

“I was wondering how that would work for a virtual visit without the person being able to see me in person or touch me,” she said.

Jyotsna (Jo) Gupta provided Greenway’s care during the appointment. During her telehealth visit, they discussed the pain in her elbow, right shoulder and back, and a bicep tear.

Greenway is now continuing care with Gupta in virtual follow-up sessions.

“I don’t know if it was any less effective than it would’ve been in person,” Greenway said.

Her post-appointment instructions came with demonstrations, photos, and videos on how often to do each exercise.

“I added some more exercises for relief, and Dr. Gupta has helped me figure out how to integrate them,” Greenway said.

Greenway said she is grateful for the ability to work to address her pain, and she said that staying at home because of the pandemic has allowed her the time to improve both her strength and health.

“There’s something you can do about your pain; it’s very empowering,” Greenway said.

Gupta said that while telehealth platforms can have limitations, it is a valuable option for physical therapists to address patient needs.

“I have seen good patient response to virtual care; they have exhibited motivation and compliance,” Gupta said. “They are improving with their symptoms and are also benefiting from extensive patient education.”

She said telehealth has given her the opportunity to assess patients in their home environments, which she called a unique advantage to virtual care.

“We at UPT always strive to provide high quality, patient-centric care and telemedicine is no different,” Gupta said. “Detailed evaluation, an evidence-based treatment approach, and effective communication will continue to be our focus with all care, including virtual care.”

Moving forward, Greenway plans on making changes in her yoga routines. She wants to be more aware of her body to prevent future injuries.

“As an instructor, it helps me pass awareness onto my students. You do need to be aware, to be careful. My approach to teaching continues to evolve—less performance and more health and mindfulness oriented.”

Greenway said she encourages those who are considering virtual appointments to learn more. “Don’t delay your need for health care, because we don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Jyotsna Gupta, PT, PhD, is also an associate professor in the Division of Physical Therapy. University Physical Therapy is staffed by division faculty and is affiliated with the Department of Allied Health Sciences at the UNC School of Medicine. 

-Lizzy Laufters, public relations and communications intern