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

How does Physical Therapy Near Me Work?

How does Physical Therapy Near Me Work?

physical therapy near me

There seem to be a lot of misconceptions out there about physical therapy (PT).  Some people think it is only for elite athletes. Others have the idea it is only used for patients in rehabilitation from an orthopedic surgery.  In reality, physical therapy professionals operate in a few different modalities that can be beneficial for patients with many kinds of diagnoses. It additionally benefits a range of patients across different age ranges, from very young children to elders who are well past retirement.  

So, how does the physical therapy clinic benefit all of these diverse patients?

This is a great question.

  • The first thing most people think of when looking for physical therapy near me is exercise.  It is true that exercise is the basis for many PT treatment plans.  There are two basic categories of exercise that are prescribed, strengthening and stretching.  Building strength in targeted muscle groups takes the pressure off of skeletal structures like the spine.  Stretching can create space for nerve structures that were being constricted. There are specific exercises for each purpose, and for targeting different parts of the body – but they will do the most good when performed under proper supervision.
  • Massage, along with passive stretching, is an essential component of PT.  Patients benefit from massage in a number of ways.  It is another way to stretch specific parts of the body, relieving tension and nerve constriction.  It also has holistic benefits for the patient, offering an (often pleasant) way to relax and even improve conditions such as depression that initially seem to be unrelated to the physical body.
  • Hot and cold therapies are an essential part of some PT treatment plans.  The application of heat or cold to a painful area is vastly underrated as a mechanism for pain relief.  Often, it is as effective as a prescription pain medication without the side effects or risk of addiction.  There are various devices available to apply heat and cold to specific parts of the body in a targeted manner.
  • Water therapy can be used in conjunction with heat and cold therapy, or on its own as a way to facilitate exercise for folks who are very compromised in their ability to move around and exert themselves.  Just being in the water is therapeutic for some as it decreases the impact of gravity and lets them move freely, perhaps for the first time in months or years. Children are especially fond of therapeutic activities undertaken in a water environment and often see these as just an extension of playtime.
  • Recovering from a surgery, accident, or other injury can be challenging.  This is especially true of individuals who have lost a limb or other body part.  In these cases, the physical therapist can help the patient become accustomed to using a prosthesis or adaptive device in order to achieve a level of functioning that is comparable to their “normal”.  Often, the PT clinician will partner with an occupational therapy professional in a physical therapy clinic in these cases. The combination of these two types of therapies allows patients to regain strength and flexibility while adapting to “new” ways of doing the common activities of daily living.