Want to join our team? We are hiring PT, OT, and ATC positions.


Seeking Health Care in the COVID-19 Era

Many have begun to realize that everyday health issues do not cease to exist in the middle of a pandemic. Unfortunately, your aches and pains don’t miraculously disappear.  You may be worrying that seeking health care could risk exposing you or your loved ones to COVID-19 or that you are burdening an already stressed health care system. However, for many conditions, delaying care can have negative long-term effects that may ultimately require more treatment and can lead to greater stress on the health care system.  Fortunately, health care providers are taking precautions in their clinics and expanding access via telehealth to give their patients more options to seek care safely.

Telehealth has quickly become a vital tool for health care practitioners to continue to provide treatment to their patients with no risk of exposure to COVID-19.  Most health care practices, including physical therapy, have embraced the use of telehealth to care for those patients who are considered to be at high risk for in-person care. 

A telehealth visit can be helpful in determining if your symptoms require further medical care, and if so, whether or not your treatment can be managed without an in-person office visit. The role of many health care providers is to first rule out potential serious pathologies and then to provide advice and education on how to manage symptoms and conditions. This can frequently all be done via telehealth. In fact, studies have found telehealth physical therapy appointments for some conditions can be just as effective as in-person visits for many musculoskeletal conditions. Furthermore, patients appear to be more compliant with their home exercises when telehealth is utilized.

Another way to both decrease exposure and reduce the strain on the medical system is to seek care directly from secondary care providers, such as physical therapists. These providers are well trained to screen out serious health conditions and refer you to other providers as needed.  In Maryland, you can directly access care from a physical therapist for the treatment of your muscle and joint aches and pains. 

Many people want to know if seeking in-person care is safe.  You should be confident that your provider is doing everything necessary to decrease the chance of spreading COVID-19.  In my practice, we screen all patients and staff daily to ensure everyone’s safety.  The state of Maryland has mandated enhanced infection control procedures for clinics, including requiring all staff to wear face coverings and other appropriate PPE, providing patients with PPE, maintaining social distancing requirements in waiting rooms, and screening all patients and staff for COVID-19.  So, if you are dealing with a medical issue or tired of living with that nagging pain, don’t hesitate to contact your health care provider to receive the care you need.

J.D. Sheppard, PT, DPT


Dr. J.D. Sheppard is a board-certified specialist in orthopedic physical therapy, sits on the board of directors for the Maryland chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association, and is the clinic manager for ProFlex Physical Therapy located in the Kentlands. He can be contacted at jsheppard@proflexpt.com.

More from the blog

Is Sleeping a Pain???

Is Sleeping a Pain???

Are you experiencing countless sleepless, restless nights because of pain? Are you tired of going to work feeling and looking like a zombie? In today’s age it seems that we are getting less sleep due to the fast pace of an ever-changing world. We are also obsessed...

Stay Safe During the Snow

Stay Safe During the Snow

The most common snow and ice injuries are low back injuries from shoveling and slipping and falling on the ice. Below are some tips to help you avoid those injuries. If you find yourself slipping, remember “tuck and roll." If you feel yourself losing balance, tuck...

Tennis Agility

Tennis Agility

Having issues with movement on the court? Agility: quick footsteps/movements and changes in body direction are an important part of the tennis game and can easily be worked on with a few simple drills.   Sideways shuffle: A quick sideways movement while staying...