Spine Health – COVID-19

TeleMedicine TeleHealth Plastaras PM&R Rehab

TeleMedicine VideoChat with Dr. Plastaras

Learn tips for maintaining healthy spine, muscle, bones, and tendons during COVID-19 Emergency

TeleMedicine or TeleHealth is a way for patients to connect with their spine & sports medicine specialist from the convenience of their own home.  Your doctor can do thorough functional assessment of how your body is moving and functioning through video chat.  Just like going to the doctor in real life, you can get expert advice on your muscle / bone / ligament / spine condition. You can get medications prescribed, radiographic test ordered, and an exercise prescription! You can get advice on whether you are doing the right exercises and if your doing your exercises with proper form.

Fitness During the COVID-19 Corona-Virus Pandemic Emergency: Workouts Outside during times of Social Distancing

Be flexible: plan your walk/run/jog/bike workout at times of the day that are less crowded. We all would like to be outside at the nicest temperature/time of the day but realize that everyone and their sister/brother will be out there at the same time! When you see a misty drizzle rain or colder temperatures, take this as an opportune time to be out there for your workout when others may not be brave enough to weather the unpleasant climates.

Be creative: Come up with new routes and paths that other people may not have thought of. Remember the sage words of Robert Frost: “I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”

Know what 6 feet is: Guess what? 6 feet is wider than a typical sidewalk so you are going to have to step aside. 6 feet is the width of a car or a park bench (see the 6 foot tape measure in these pictures). 

Your arm span (length when holding your arms out to the side) is roughly about  the same as your height. So if you are 5’6″ tall, your arm span is roughly 5’6″.  Six feet is a little longer than my arm span (see below) but the length of my fat bike from wheel to wheel is a good distance.

Be patient: When you see someone else approaching, stop. Step aside. More than 6 feet. Breathe. Wait, Wait. Wait. Give a thumbs up hello. Allow them to pass. Breathe. Resume your workout.

Be courteous: Aren’t you always? Now is the time to practice extra special kindness to your fellow woman/man/child.  Step aside for families with small children or people that may look like they may have even a mild physical disability or balance issue.

Be respectful: Other people may not have a true understanding of what 6 feet really is or how this disease is even spread in the community. Take the high road, step aside, keep your distance, and let them pass.

Turn down the volume: Do you really need ear plugs? – You won’t be able to keep your distance from other people if you don’t know if someone is passing you. If you can’t hear them coming, you can’t keep your distance.

Don’t be sneaky: If you are walking/running/biking faster than someone and you are going to pass someone else, announce yourself. “Passing on your left”, “passing”, “on your left”, Ring/ding a bell if you are on a bike.  Remember the person you are passing may have a sneeze coming; they can’t hold it if they don’t know you are passing. Again keeping your more than 6 foot distance will help.

Appreciate nature: Now that your ear buds are out, and you are waiting for others to pass on the path, look at the sky, the clouds, a tree, a bird. Breathe the air that is now getting cleaner now that fewer combustion engines are on the roads.  Listen to the sounds of spring. (My favorite spring sound is the song of the white throated sparrow.) 

Cover your face: those with seasonal allergies especially in the spring know what I’m talking about. This is a normal thing for these individuals. This is about stopping asymptomatic spread.

Don’t touch anything: Again practicing patience, simply wait for the green light to turn, do not push the crosswalk button. Keep your hands off hand rails, lamp posts, etc. If you need help with balance for your walk, use a cane or walker. Don’t touch anything in public. And don’t touch your face.

Keeping fit is good for your physical and emotional health.  Please stay fit and practice social distancing!
Wash your hands, wipe down phones, keys, door knobs, car handles/doors, or any other frequently touched objects you may encounter on your outing. Wash your hands (again). Hand lotion.

Be safe and healthy. We are all in this together.