When is telehealth recommended for physical therapy?

When is telehealth recommended for physical therapy?

telehealth - physical therapy

Physical therapy can be used to treat many different conditions, but because it is often part of a larger treatment plan, it is not always the first recommendation.  Physical therapy may be recommended immediately after symptoms appear, as a preventative measure, as an alternative to surgery, or as part of a recovery plan.  

The recommended appointments can be at a physical therapy clinic, or they may be a virtual telehealth appointment from the comfort of your own home. Which will you choose?

Telehealth physical therapy for pain

Physical therapy is often used as a treatment for certain types of pain like back and neck pain.  Your physical therapist is trained to identify the source of the pain and recommend stretches and exercises that may help feel better or increase range of motion. 

Back and neck pain is often associated with poor posture, so either at a physical therapy clinic or during a telehealth appointment, your physical therapist will want to observe your posture and may recommend changes to improve it.

Physical therapy as prevention

Since some sports and activities can be hard on your body, some athletes choose to have physical therapy as a preventative measure. Your physical therapist can help keep your joints healthy and flexible and ensure that you are properly working all of your muscles.

If an athlete chooses to have a physical therapy telehealth appointment, it is important to use a camera setup where the physical therapist will be able to see your whole body and you will have room to move.

Physical therapy is sometimes alternative to surgery

Sometimes, physical therapy will be recommended before a doctor will recommend surgery.  For example, carpal tunnel surgery is a very common procedure but doctors will often recommend that patients try nonsurgical treatments such as physical therapy, rest, and splinting before surgery.

Another example is joint replacement surgery.  This type of procedure usually removes some of the natural bone and does not leave enough for the procedure to ever be repeated on that joint.  This is one reason why doctors will usually want to see how effective non-surgical treatments such as physical therapy are before recommending surgery.

Telehealth services can be part of recovery plan

For any condition that limits mobility and function, physical therapy may be part of the recovery process.  Some examples include:

  • Joint replacement surgery:  It is important to move the joint as soon as possible after surgery, so your doctor may recommend physical therapy as soon as it is safe.
  • Stroke:  Physical therapy can help restore function after a stroke limits movement in a part of the body.
  • Injury:  A serious injury will likely need to be treated by a medical doctor first, but as it heals physical therapy may be part of the recovery process.

Telehealth services for physical therapy can be especially useful during the recovery process if your condition limits your ability to leave the house.  You can learn more about telehealth services and the physical therapy clinics that offer them by visiting https://www.betterpt.com