What is a telehealth physical?

Answered by Edward Huber

A telehealth physical therapy session is a form of healthcare service where physical therapy is provided remotely using technology. It allows patients to receive treatment and guidance from a physical therapist without having to visit a clinic or healthcare facility in person. Instead, the therapy session takes place through a video call or teleconferencing platform, enabling real-time interaction between the patient and the therapist.

One of the key advantages of telehealth physical therapy is convenience. Patients can participate in therapy sessions from the comfort of their own homes, eliminating the need for travel time and expenses. This is especially beneficial for individuals who live in remote areas or have limited mobility. Additionally, telehealth physical therapy can be scheduled at a time that is convenient for both the patient and the therapist, allowing for greater flexibility in managing busy schedules.

Telehealth physical therapy can address a wide range of conditions and injuries, including musculoskeletal disorders, joint pain, post-surgical rehabilitation, and sports-related injuries. The sessions may involve exercises, stretches, manual therapy techniques, and education on proper body mechanics. The therapist guides the patient through the exercises, observes their movements, and provides real-time feedback and corrections.

During a typical telehealth physical therapy session, the therapist and patient communicate through video or audio calls. The therapist may ask the patient to perform specific movements or exercises while observing their form and providing instructions. The therapist can also demonstrate exercises or stretches themselves and provide guidance on how to modify movements for individual needs. Additionally, the therapist may utilize tools such as diagrams or videos to enhance the patient’s understanding of exercises and techniques.

Telehealth physical therapy can also include assessments and evaluations. The therapist may ask the patient to perform certain tasks or movements to assess their range of motion, strength, and functional abilities. They can then use this information to develop a personalized treatment plan and provide recommendations for exercises and activities to improve the patient’s condition.

To ensure the effectiveness and safety of telehealth physical therapy, it is important for patients to have access to certain equipment or props. This may include resistance bands, weights, stability balls, or foam rollers, depending on the treatment plan. The therapist can guide the patient on how to utilize these props effectively and safely during the session.

While telehealth physical therapy offers numerous benefits, it is important to acknowledge its limitations. Physical touch, which is often a crucial aspect of in-person physical therapy, may be limited or absent in telehealth sessions. This means that certain techniques, such as manual therapy or hands-on adjustments, may not be possible. However, therapists can often provide alternative methods or exercises to address these limitations and still achieve positive outcomes.

Telehealth physical therapy is a convenient and effective way for individuals to receive physical therapy services remotely. It allows for real-time interaction between the patient and therapist, encompassing exercises, stretches, education, and assessments. While it may have some limitations compared to in-person sessions, telehealth physical therapy can still provide valuable guidance and support in managing various musculoskeletal conditions and injuries.