In Person or Virtual PT? Maybe Both!

Virtual physical therapy has quickly moved from a niche offering to the mainstream. Having more options is great, but it can also complicate decision making. Having an understanding of the benefits of both can help make clear which one would best help you meet your goals.

In Person Physical Therapy

The main advantage of traditional “brick and mortar” PT is that the therapist is in the room with you. That means they can move around to see how you’re moving from different angles, physically adjust your position or movement as you exercise, and physically examine you – testing your strength, measuring your range of motion, etc. They can also use things like manual therapy, electrical stimulation or ultrasound when you’re in the clinic. In person PT may work best for:

  • New patients – the ability to physically examine you makes it easier for your PT to accurately diagnose what’s going on
  • Less active patients – if you’re not used to exercising and moving, having someone physically present to coach you along can be a big benefit
  • People with complicated or chronic conditions – if your back has been hurting for the last 5 years and you’ve been ignoring it, providing a diagnosis and treating it totally virtually will be difficult for your PT
  • Less motivated patients – virtual PT requires you to do most of your exercises by yourself. If you need someone watching over you to make sure you do them, in person PT might work better for you

Virtual PT

The main benefit of virtual PT is convenience. Because virtual PT relies on you doing most of your exercise and treatment on your own, appointments can be shorter. This also means that motivation is a prerequisite to choosing virtual PT. The fact that you don’t have to travel to the clinic makes it easier to squeeze a visit into a busy schedule. Virtual PT works well for:

  • Athletes and others with good body awareness – being on your own for your home exercise program requires you to be in tune with your body and how it’s moving
  • People with common athletic injuries – things like tendonitis, sprains, strains, plantar fasciitis, and overuse injuries are commonly treated by PTs. Because of that, there is a template for treatment that is easily adapted to individual needs.
  • People with pulmonary and cardiac conditions that require monitoring and consistent appointments.
  • Vestibular patients experiencing dizziness (it is helpful to have someone else at home with you during a virtual visit to aid in positional techniques if needed)
  • Existing and returning patients – if your physical therapist knows you, it’s easier to treat you virtually.

Telehealth therapy allows you to receive the same expertise, care, and advice that you would in the clinic, but from the safety and comfort of your home.  You will be seen one-on-one by a respiratory therapist or physical therapist who will provide an evaluation, exercises and education.  Our ultimate goal is transition back into the clinic, if and when possible, for the added value of manual therapy and access to equipment.

The COVID-19 pandemic seems to have stopped much of the world. One thing that the virus has not stopped is pain and injury. Maybe you were seeing your PT when stay at home orders were issued. Maybe you’ve been having more pain and soreness in your back or neck because of all the time you’ve spent in front of the computer working at home, or maybe you hurt yourself over the weekend doing some yard work or exercising to relieve stress.  Maybe you notice you are having a hard time catching your breath just doing daily tasks.  Maybe a post-operative joint is getting stiff.  Telehealth (physical, cardiac and vestibular therapy and pulmonary rehabilitation) allows you to get the care you need without putting yourself or others at risk during this time of social distancing! Contact us today to schedule your appointment!

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