MerrimackValleyPT_COVID-19 & Physical Therapy


NOW OFFERING CONTACTLESS PAYMENTS! As an added safety measure to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we will now be saving your credit card information on file. Contactless payments have been recommended by the World Health Organization and we want to do our part to flatten the curve! Ask your PT how you can save your credit card information.

4 Convenient New Hampshire Locations Where You Live and Work Bedford • Londonderry • Manchester •Nashua WE ARE HERE FOR YOU!



INSIDE : • Patient Success Spotlight

• Gardening Tips • Staff Spotlight: Sarah Houle

• Merrimack Valley Physical Therapy COVID-19 Update

• Home Workstation Ergonomics

As we work together to keep our families and communities safe, we also should focus on our own well-being. Here are some tips for staying

inflammation. Research has shown that spring is an especially good season to be outside because natural scents from blooming flowers help us relax. So get out there and smell the flowers. 3. Sleep at least 7 ½ to 9 hours each night. Getting a full night’s rest helps keep your energy levels up during the day and strengthens your immune system to better fight infection. So if you’re wondering what to do with your missed early morning commute time, sleep on it.

about things usually navigate obstacles better. 2. Reach out to others for support. Even though we’re practicing social distancing, we’re all in this together. If you’re having a tough day, reach out to a colleague or friend. Or if you’re feeling great and have support to give, reach out too. We’ve never had more tools for connecting to family and friends. Use them. 3. Find time to laugh. Making light of difficult situations helps us get through them and helps our bodies. According to Mayo Clinic researchers, the short-term benefits of laughter include the relief in stress responses and the stimulation of organs, like your lungs, heart and core muscles. So whatever makes you laugh—your uncle Felix or that video of a cat jumping over toilet paper rolls—make time in your day for it.

healthy and strong: Physical Health: 1. Be physically active every day.

Take advantage of all the options you have for physical activity, including walking, following simple circuits or lifting light weights. Physical activity is not only good for your body, it’s good for your mind as well. Getting your blood flowing releases endorphins in the brain that can improve your mood. 2. Enjoy the outdoors at least 30 minutes everyday. Going outside gets you moving and allows your skin cells to generate Vitamin D—an essential nutrient for absorbing calcium and reducing

Social/Family Health: 1. Put your family first.

If you’re with family, make sure to carve out time to enjoy one another’s company—from making dinner together, to catching up on Netflix. Even folding laundry together can be fun. And when things take a dip, talk about it. Families that talk

(Continued Inside)


Getting You Back to the Activities You Love

COVID-19 & PHYSICAL THERAPY (Continued From Outside) Mental Health:

Patient Success Spotlight

Judith was so happy to be offered telehealth services at MVPT- Bedford as a way to continue to get physical therapy while staying safe at home during COVID-19. “After ankle surgery this winter, my surgeon recommended MVPT since you acceptmy insurance and his clinic did not. At the time that COVID-19 virus turned our world upside down, I had received five treatments at your Bedford, NH office with two of your therapists, Brittany and Mary. Because my husband and I are both in our late 70s and therefore in a high- risk category, my children asked us to self-quarantine and not leave the house.

Nutritional Health: 1.Load up on fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables provide your body with vital nutrients that support your immune system and overall health. If getting them fresh is a challenge, you can get what you need from the canned or frozen variety. 2.Limit sweets. When times get tough, the tough raid the cookie jar. But that short-term sugar high we get from sweets can compromise our immune systems and normal body functions. Do your best to satisfy your craving for sweets with fruit instead. And if you absolutely have tohave a cookie or your favorite ice cream, keep it to aminimum. One scoop tastes as good as two. 3.Plan your grocery shopping. Before you go to the store, make a list of exactly you want—including all those things that are good for you. This will ensure you’re eating well, and that you can shop quickly which limits your exposure to others.

1.Stick to a routine. At a time when nothing feels normal, put a little “normal” back into your life with a daily routine. Sticking to a daily routine has been shown to have a positive impact on mood and energy levels. This means anything from having your morning coffee at the same time every day, to always having an exercise break right before dinner. 2.Make time for things you enjoy. With more time on your hands, you can tackle that long- term personal project you’ve been neglecting. Or you can simply veg out and binge on your favorite TV series. Whatever you do, try to make it stress free. If listening to the news stresses you out, listen to music instead. 3.Remind yourself daily that this is temporary. This is not going to go on forever. It’s important to remind yourself of that, and to take things one day at a time.

Mary Calderan, PT, DPT: Judith's Physical Therapist

I was so happy to be able to continue my physical therapy safely from home through your telehealth services. Mary and I communicate on Facetime through PhysiApp™ for our exercises. Mary is so encouraging and supportive of my efforts. I need that! I really like the exercise program that Mary customizes for my specific injury. After the telehealth visit, I don’t have to worry about forgetting Mary’s exercise instructions, because I just follow the exercise videos that Mary sends to me via PhysiApp™. Both Mary’s positive support & clear exercise directions encourage me to exercise between my appointments. I like the ability to record my exercises, perhaps it is the retired schoolteacher in me; now if only the program gave out gold stars! I believe Mary’s positive support and the clear, customized exercise program will be the reasons why my ankle will recover. Mary says no running… yet!”

With so many of us working from home, it’s essential to have the right set-up for your desktop computer or laptop so that you don’t injure yourself. Here are some tips and tricks, using household items, for good posture and support. • Set up your laptop on a flat surface where you have a lot of area you can work from, and choose a supportive, high-back chair to sit in. • Don’t slouch forward: add a small cushion behind your back so that you sit slightly reclined with you low back supported. • In a seated position, your hips and knees should be flexed at about 90°. • If your feet do not contact the floor, place something (like a puzzle box) on the floor so your feet can rest on top of them. • Relax your shoulders, position your elbows so they are flexed nomore than 90°, and position your wrists so they are in a neutral, straight position. • Position your computer monitor about an arm’s length away so that you do not have to bend forward to see the monitor, which also helps to maintain the ideal arm position described above. • Most importantly don’t forget to get up and move every 20-30 minutes to give your body a break! Check out Sarah’s full ergonomics video on our MVPT Facebook page: HOME WORKSTATION ERGONOMICS Written By: Sarah Houle, PT of MVPT: Manchester



To support our community during this challenging time, we are NOW OFFERING TELEHEALTH APPOINTMENTS TO ALL PATIENTS!


Click here to schedule a Telehealth or In-clinic Appointment


STAFF SPOTLIGHT Sarah Houle, PT, Clinic Manager of MVPT Manchester My road to becoming a Physical Therapist is quite unique when compared to many of the PTs I work with. After graduating from Tufts University with an Electrical Engineering degree, I pursued a Physical Therapy degree at California State University at Long Beach. I then attended Air University (Montgomery, Alabama) where I earned an MS in Military Science, followed by 21 years of service in the military, retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Since then, I’ve worked in the field of physical therapy for over 20 years, focusing my care on outpatient orthopedics and post-surgical breast cancer rehabilitation. However, none of my training or education had preparedme for this global pandemic! When we first learned about the COVID-19 virus, who could have imagined that we’d face a long-standing shut down of businesses, resulting in home-bound work for so many people? It’s impacted nearly every aspect of people’s lives, forcing so many of us to put life on hold. Although I was worried about howCOVIDwould affect me, I was also very concerned about the impact onmy patients and co-workers. As someone who focuses on one-on-one care,

By: Alyssa Stuart, PT, DPT of

gardening bench for extra support and comfort. 2. If using a wheelbarrow, lift the handles by bending your knees and elbows and engaging your core. Relax your shoulders so they are not raised. Raising your shoulders and bending your back forward to lift the handles can strain muscles. 3. If stacking wood, stagger your stance with one foot in front of the other for a wide base of support. Carry smaller loads and avoid unnecessary strain on your back when you lift by bending your knees and engaging your core. 4. When raking, avoid reaching and bending too far forward. Try to stay close to the area you are raking and take smaller strokes. Avoid twisting to protect your back and shoulders. Want some more helpful tips? Check out for all of Alyssa’s tips to staying safe while doing yardwork.

I can’t help but develop a bond with my patients; the thought of their care ending was quite worrisome to me. The benefit of telehealth is that it has allowed our staff to take a peek into patients home environment to assess their body mechanics with activities of daily living, make corrections to their posture when performing normal tasks and come up with creative and innovative ways to keep them engaged with their physical health andwellness. Through our pediatric/ ortho therapist Hannah, we are connecting with our young patients and their families with education and activities to increase participation, to help their special-needs children be more engaged and involved in daily life. It was also nice to continue to offer in clinic visits to those patients who need a little more hands-on care, to keep on track with their post-operative protocols, andwho are unable tomaneuver themselves to ease their musculoskeletal issues. I am most grateful that MVPT has taken the steps to keep patients and staff safe while we all work together to get through this pandemic.

Spending time in the garden this Spring? Try these tips to avoid aches and pains while doing what you love! 1. When weeding and preparing your raised beds, avoid bending forward with your back and reaching too far from your body. If you are able, work in a half kneel position and use tools close to you to avoid stress on your low back, shoulders, and neck. You can also try a cushion or


individuals are prohibited from entering the clinics Hygiene: • Stringent handwashing and hygiene protocols with team members • Mandatory patient hand washing upon arrival • Enhanced cleaning regimen of clinics and equipment • Placed alcohol-based sanitizer in the clinics for patient and employee use • Every clinician wears a mask and we require you to do the same • Coordinating with leading healthcare and infection agencies to mitigate potential risks Are you accepting new patients? Yes! We understand that pain and injuries don’t disappear just because of COVID-19. Call your closest clinic to get set up with an in-clinic or telehealth appointment. If your insurance requires a script, a call to your physician’s office will allow you to avoid an in-person doctor’s appointment. Keep Up to Date: The situation is constantly evolving, so please keep up to date with our latest news, information and health tips. Follow Us on Social Media: Facebook: Instagram: For more information on COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and the ways to keep your family and communities safe, please visit the CDC ( .

give them the care they need in a safe and secure setting. Our combined telehealth and in-clinic services play a critical role in reducing stress on other areas of the healthcare system. Physical therapy helps keep patients out of doctors’ offices and emergency rooms bymanaging musculoskeletal symptoms and improving overall health. What are you doing to ensure patient and team safety in your clinics? Screening: Patient Care Coordinators are screening patients for symptoms by phone and in-person. If you are exhibiting any of the following symptoms, we ask that you reschedule your visit at the later of 14 days or the elimination of symptoms. All teammembers are also conducting daily screening for symptoms. Any employee presenting symptoms consistent with COVID-19 will be sent home to self-quarantine for 14 days. • Cough • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing Or at least two of these symptoms:

Our number one priority has always been the health and well-being of our patients and staff. With that as our focus, we’ve been working diligently to ensure that we continue to provide the highest-quality physical therapy services, while implementing policies and procedures to keep our patients and team members safe. Since the middle of March, we have expanded our telehealth services so that patients can get initial screenings and treatments from the comfort and safety of their homes. For higher acuity injuries, or for patients who prefer in-person visits, our four NH clinics remain open. At our clinics, we have implemented all CDC safety recommendations to ensure the safety of our patients. Why are we transitioning some patients to virtual visits? In order to support social distancing, we are offering patients the option of virtual visits via telehealth so that they can receive necessary treatment from the comfort and safety of their homes. What is a telehealth/virtual visit? Virtual visits are a one-on-one remote therapy visit with your physical therapist connected through video on your phone, tablet or computer. To assist with this connection, we will be using a program called Physitrack, a dynamic exercise- based program that is available for free. Why stay open at all? While telehealth is effective for many types of treatments, some patients require hands-on care or specialized equipment that they can only access in the clinic. By following CDC guidelines, we are able to

• Fever • Chills • Repeated shaking with chills

• Muscle pain • Headache • Sore throat • New loss of taste or smell

Spacing and Distancing: • All care is one-on-one with a physical therapist, at a safe distance from other staff and patients • All non-essential vendors, observers, and other

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