Virtual (Telehealth) physical therapy (PT) has quickly moved from a niche offering to the mainstream. Having more options is great, but it can also complicate decision making. Learning about the benefits of both types of physical therapy delivery can help you understand your options.
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 observe how you're moving from different angles, physically adjust your position or movement as you exercise, and physically examine you - testing your strength or measuring your range of motion, for example. They can also use “hands-on,” or manual, techniques to assess and treat soft tissue or joint mobility restrictions.
In-person PT may work best for:
● New patients - the ability to physically examine you makes it easier for your PT to diagnose your condition more thoroughly.
● Less active patients - if you are less familiar with exercising, having someone physically present to coach you along can be a big benefit.
● People with complicated or chronic conditions.
Virtual Physical Therapy
The main benefit of Virtual PT is convenience. The visits tend to be somewhat shorter in length, plus there is no travel time! Patient motivation is a prerequisite to choosing virtual PT.
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 is moving.
● People with common orthopedic or sports-related injuries - things like sprains, strains, and overuse injuries are commonly treated by physical therapists. This can make it easier for your PT to select assessment and treatment techniques that are more readily translated across the online space.
● People who are comfortable with technology - you do not need to be a technology whiz but having some familiarity with online video communication helps!
● Existing and returning patients - if your physical therapist knows you, it is easier to work with you virtually.
Combining In-Person + Virtual Physical Therapy
What about both? Combining the two modes of PT can work well for many people. Doing an in-person visit for your initial evaluation can help establish a relationship with your PT and provide a more thorough exam environment. After the plan of care is established, Virtual PT may be a great option for most, or all, of your follow-up visits.
Synchrony Physical Therapy offers In-Person visits and Virtual PT options. We work with each patient to determine the best strategy to meet your needs and achieve your goals!
Crawford PT DPT, Christina Sue. Choose PT/6 Reasons to Consider Telehealth Physical Therapy. Retrieved from: https://www.choosept.com/resources/detail/6-reasons-to-consider-telehealth-physical-therapy