Holistic Care: Physio & Mental Wellbeing

In this article, Will Kenton, Head of Physiotherapy, highlights the importance of holistic care for your members, policyholders, or customers.


Many of us in our lifetime will struggle with the physical symptoms of injury or illness. It can be a challenging time, with the uncertainty about when the pain will settle and how soon you can return to your everyday life and activities.

I am sure you can remember how it made you feel. Frustrated, perhaps, or even experiencing periods of low mood. It may come as no surprise that people with a physical disability or physical health problem are likelier to experience a mental health condition (about 1 in 3 people). In contrast, people with mental health problems are more likely to experience physical health problems. Why is it that these two fundamental aspects of our health are so interrelated?

It is certainly not straightforward, but there are well-recognised reasons such as our genetics, with specific genes increasing our risk of mental health and physical health problems, lack of support to change behaviours, motivation, and being less likely to seek medical help, are all reasons why individuals with a mental health problem are more likely suffer from a preventable physical health condition.

Considering Musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions alone, we know that over twenty million people, or (almost one-third) of people in the UK, suffer from an MSK condition. Individuals with MSK conditions experience an impact on their work and personal life, their ability to be active, and the potential financial burden of reduced work or not working. These changes can negatively impact a sufferer’s mental wellbeing.

As healthcare professionals, we must consider the emotional side of suffering from a physical health disorder, given the broader impact of poor physical health.

Many of the patients accessing Teladoc Health’s Physiotherapy service will report the effect of stress of having an injury or condition, a change to their sense of self, and an impact on relationships. Quite often, patients who already suffer from anxiety and or depression may notice they are finding managing these conditions more challenging. It is also common for those with a physical problem to start to experience some feelings of anxiety and low mood, particularly if they are experiencing long-standing symptoms or pain and reduced function.

Talking to someone is really important. The good news is we have a multi-disciplinary team at Teladoc Health, working closely to ensure we deliver holistic patient care, which means we can provide mental health support when needed.

It is important to stress that having a mental health problem does not mean it is inevitable that you will develop a physical health problem and vice versa. Your members, policyholders, or customers can take steps to give themselves the best chance of staying physically and mentally well, such as exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and limiting alcohol intake.


Read this patient story | “Virtual Physio helped me regain mobility and be an active Dad.”

Author: Will Kenton, Head of Physiotherapy, Teladoc Health UK


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