5 GROUPS OF PEOPLE WHO HIGHLY BENEFIT FROM VIRTUAL PHYSICAL THERAPY

By Jenna (Mang) Chase DPT

We have all been spending more time at home, less time in the community, and many Americans have gravitated towards virtual health care options.  Physical therapy has also pivoted and embraced the virtual access option.  However, with multiple virtual physical therapy opportunities available, many people have not utilized this resource and may not understand how beneficial this point of access to health care may be.  Research has shown physical therapy provided via telecommunications is effective, promotes increased patient compliance, and demonstrates high patient satisfaction rates.

However, the question “how can you do physical therapy without the therapist touching the patient”, often arises.  Not all people and diagnoses are appropriate for virtual physical therapy, because yes, some people need the physical touch of a therapist.  Though many people are appropriate and have ailments that benefit from expert assessment, specific education, and individualized movement prescription.  More specifically, the following population groups highly benefit from the utilization of telerehab.

Those who live in a geographically remote location.

For some Americans, the nearest physical therapy clinic is 10 minutes away from their home and on their way to a frequently visited destination and is therefore easy to sync into their schedule.  Though for many Americans the time required for the commute to and from physical therapy, in conjunction with the time spent completing their therapy, can consume half of the day.  For those who live in a location where the nearest clinic is a significant distance, accessing their therapist from their home is a huge benefit for compliance and ultimately healing.  Compound mileage with weather complications and virtual physical therapy becomes the ideal option.

Those who are immunocompromised.

In the current situation of our world, those who are immunocompromised have many factors to consider before leaving their home.  It makes perfect sense for someone who prefers to stay more isolated to virtually access a physical therapist to address a musculoskeletal issue to maintain optimal health.  Superlative care is provided without compromising the overall health of those with comorbidities.        

Those whose presentation primarily requires movement to restore function.

Though not common knowledge outside of the physical therapy community, movement is an accepted treatment for varying ailments and pain.  Although an evaluation is likely required to make this determination, many people can be given education and specific exercise prescription and will achieve full restoration of function with proper compliance.  Virtual physical therapy excels in educating and exercise prescription.

Those with a complicated schedule.

Often participation in traditional physical therapy in the clinic is recommended two to three times per week.  For the stay-at-home mom, busy executive, or frequently traveling sales rep, that physical therapy schedule is not feasible.  For those who are absolutely willing to participate but require time frames outside traditional business hours, telerehab is a perfect alternative.

Those who are independent, health forward individuals

Let’s face it, our personalities vary in regards to exercise and movement preferences.  There are some folks who prefer to get the instruction and complete the program on their own.  Virtual physical therapy is perfect for this group.  Upon evaluation, you receive an individualized plan of action and appropriate follow-up steps.  As a progression, or in some cases, regression occurs, your physical therapist is at your fingertips for your next level of instruction.  Those who are independent, understand basic health principles, and are dedicated to participation, thrive on telehealth.

Virtual physical therapy is an engaging, highly skilled, movement forward health care option available to many people. Don’t let the technical aspect or skepticism of its benefit limit your engagement. Take the first step to gain all the benefits of this potentially ideal treatment to alleviate your most recent injury or pain point.

Buddhist proverb

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