If you’re wondering how physical therapy, which normally includes a therapist touching, stretching, and manipulating a patient’s joints and muscles, can take place online, it’s a valid question. But online physical therapy is effective, and we’ll explain the benefits and details of online physical therapy below.
Instruction and assessment can be done virtually
One component of physical therapy is the instruction and assessment by the therapist. The PT will access a person’s movements, listen to what is bothering them, and instruct them on what exercises they can perform to make improvements. Many have doubts this is as effective as being in person, but research (which we’ll take a look at below) is showing the success of virtual physical therapy.
Physical therapy isn’t only about touch. It also involves a lot of analysis along with specific exercises. Both can thankfully be done online.
Research proves online physical therapy is effective
Studies are proving the effectiveness of online physical therapy. One report observed 287 people with a mean age of 65 who underwent total knee replacement surgery. Half did in-office PT, while the others used a virtual PT rehabilitation system. Those in the virtual PT program were given instructions and feedback based on their movements, as well as weekly sessions with a live physical therapist.
According to the report, those who participated in the virtual PT program were hospitalized less and were able to be more physically active than those who used traditional in-clinic care.
Online physical therapy is accessible
Online physical therapy is a great option for patients who don’t live close to clinics or who may be in a remote area where clinic access is nonexistent. All a patient needs is an internet connection and a phone or laptop with a camera.
Insurance companies are also covering online appointments for physical therapy treatments. If you don’t have insurance, or your insurance doesn’t cover online PT, direct payments are also an option.
Online physical therapy is helping COVID-19 patients heal
Physical therapy has a crucial role to play in helping COVID-19 patients heal. Many who have had a serious bout with the virus can benefit from physical therapy to get back to their former, healthier selves. PT can help patients with their ability to walk if they’ve been bedridden for weeks on end or are suffering from other long-term conditions. Patients suffering long-haul COVID conditions in rural areas, who would otherwise have to spend long periods driving to a clinic, can connect virtually with a physical therapist to start making improvements immediately.
What you need for a successful online PT appointment
If you’re interested in scheduling an online physical therapy appointment, you need a few basic things:
- A dependable internet connection
- Space to stretch, lie down, and move around
- Good lighting
- A smartphone or laptop with a camera
That’s it! With these few pieces of technology and enough space to move freely, you can schedule an appointment and begin the improvements of a licensed physical therapist.