You Are Not Alone
Don’t you agree that knowing ‘you are not alone in this’ can sometimes be surprisingly helpful for coping with daily struggles. We believe that it can work both soothing and motivating, which is why we would like to introduce you today to one of our Optimovers.
Sonja, 29, is a fulltime professional diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis – a disease affecting parts of the nervous system, resulting in physical, mental or psychiatric problems. Sonja spends most of her day at work. Having difficulties finding the time to train her balance and with an accentuated drop foot (inability to lift the front part of the foot), causing her to sometimes fall down while walking, she decided to get professional consultation, online.
Read along if you want to get to know her struggles and successes, as well as her impressions of using the platform and being treated by a physiotherapist online.
Meet an Optimover
Optimov: Dear Sonja, how did you become an Optimover?
Sonja: I was visiting Rigs Hospital in Copenhagen to get my monthly dose of medicine Tysabri to cope with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and I saw a poster in the Sclerosis Clinic, where Optimov via the Interdisciplinary Research Centre for Patient Support, was offering a “1 month free Online subscription, for people in the need of physical activity and advice from an experienced physiotherapist”.
O: Why did you find such offer valuable for you?
S: Well, I think I had several reasons that made me feel that this offer was something for me… as you understand I am a busy career woman that wants to deliver the best service at work. It means that I need to be 100% healthy for as long as possible to reach my professional goals. 10 years ago I was diagnosed with MS and such disease is definitely challenging my everyday life. It means that I need to get supervised and customized training that follows the pace of my disease. One day I can walk fast, the next I have to take it with some care. I used to be able to run prior to my diagnosis, but not anymore.
Other reasons are that I tried to go to the gym and participated in different group workout sessions such as pilates and yoga. But the fact that you have to attend at a specific time stressed me a lot and I was dissatisfied with certain exercises since I was unable to do them as “normal” people do, which made me feel that I was in need of finding some other way to train my body. I know that one shouldn’t compare themselves to others, especially when you don’t know what they are struggling with, but I always felt a bit behind when doing exercises in the fitness center. I was very self-aware of my limitations and this further stressed me out, and resulted with me going home after the gym feeling disappointed.
O: What was your impression about meeting a physiotherapist in a video consultation via your computer?
S: I am used to meeting family and friends online so it was not something new. And I was looking forward to hearing what an online physiotherapist was able to offer me without being able to see and/or touch my body in person.
O: How did he manage that?
S: Well, Jose (Physiotherapist and CEO of Physio R&D) had lots of questions that were aimed at narrowing my needs, motivation and goals and somehow he managed to create a training program that fulfilled all that.
O: How was your day by day using Optimov?
S: José and I decided to make a first week test with very easy sitting exercises once every 2 days. The exercises were challenging my balance and coordination, but I was able to perform them together with the programmed virtual coach that shows and guides me during the workout. I was somehow tired at the end of the week, maybe I was very busy that week, I even skipped an exercise unfortunately.
The second week
S: I got two different exercises sets. The first one was with high intensity mixing sitting and a few standing exercises to be performed every day from Saturday to Wednesday. The second one with a lower intensity sitting exercises the last two days of the week. The exercise sets were no longer than 15 minutes and I was able to perform all of them, but not the one the last day because of a car crash I was involved in.
I had a car accident…
S: That day I had a very shocking car accident on the way home from work. Suddenly a wheel from another car was rolling with high speed right in front of my car in the middle of the road, I couldn’t avoid it, so when it hit my car, all 4 wheels where in the air for a few seconds. I hit my head against the roof, which is made of glass. Fortunately I escaped with only some neck and back pain from the accident and the day after I decided to rest at home. This day I had a meeting with Jose..
The third week
S: José asked details about the accident and we also went through the scale reports based on the questions that I have to answer each time before and after any exercise set. After that he proposed to adjust my exercise set to the new needs for my neck and back pain and also introduced some new exercises that challenged my balance, coordination and aerobic capacity even more. This time I was supposed to perform 25 minutes workout every day for the coming week.
Something very remarkable occurred in my leg..
S: I really do not know… but after the second day of doing my new set of exercises, I noticed that my balance was improved in my right leg, where I have had a drop foot for quite some time. A few days after I was no longer having any symptoms of drop foot and at the end of the week I was feeling full of energy after my workout. Until today I feel in control of my right foot and so I hope it stays like this for as long as possible.
O: Wow, that is really wonderful Sonja, congratulations… So what is going to be your next goal?
S: Well if the drop foot is gone, then my next goal is to be able to run. I have not been able to do this since I was diagnosed with M.S. I have fallen several times when trying to run to catch the bus for example, and it both annoys me and stresses me out.
S: José kept this in mind when he started to prepare a new exercise set with some new exercises that will train me up to be ready to run. José never ensures me that I will be able to reach my goals 100%, but he believes it is worth a try, and this is what we do. He also encouraged me to train once a week in a swimming pool to challenge my balance and strength, but also to stimulate a normal running technique in my body. Maybe I’ll book a session with him and be able to shake hands for the first time with “my online therapist” after the first month of coaching via Optimov… I think this is something very unusual. The way we are used to doing things is changing quickly in this digital world, and I am happy that I can follow the new trends.
O: Sounds like a really great plan, so what will you do when the first free month of Optimov subscription is over?
S: Well, José explained my options. The monthly price sounds reasonable; a lot cheaper than the prices I would pay for going to the closest gym or to a physiotherapist. I think I will continue working out with Optimov for a longer period… So far it has been just pros and improvements in my health in the first 3 trial weeks… so why not to continue being an Optimover.
If you got inspired by Sonja’s story, you can subscribe for the free version of Optimov, where you get 2 weeks of exercises matching your needs and physical energy. You are also more than welcome to share your story with us, or give us any feedback.