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Common Questions about Virtual Physical Therapy During COVID-19

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We’re approaching the annual anniversary of coronavirus. After nearly a year, common questions about virtual physical therapy during COVID-19 remain.

Virtual physical therapy (sometimes referred to as ‘online PT,’ or ‘telehealth PT’) existed before the pandemic, but once the world was upended, it became a beacon for patients uncomfortable with in-person clinic visits. But questions remain about virtual physical therapy. Let’s answer a few common questions regarding telehealth to clear up any confusion. 

Is physical therapy necessary during COVID-19?

Exercise, movement, socialization, and, yes, physical therapy, are all necessary during the pandemic. These activities all look a little different now, but PT is still a vital component to those recovering from surgery, rehabbing an injury, or for any active person looking to keep their body from breaking down. 

93% of Agile Virtual Care patients saw decrease in pain after their prescribed course of virtual care. For these patients it’s safe to say that they absolutely thought physical therapy was still necessary.

What kinds of physical therapy can be done virtually?

Patients recovering from surgery, such as hip or knee replacement surgery, are great candidates for online PT, as are those with chronic pain, ergonomics issues, and more. Physical therapy clinicians can watch patients and say their adjustments or movements via a phone or computer.

Agile’s most common patients include those whose lives have been hampered by pain in the neck, back, shoulder, hip, knee, foot, ankle and wrist. These patients often turn to us to address their limited functional ability, decreased strength and flexibility, and before or after surgery.

How can physical therapy routines be adapted for home?

A lot of physical therapy patients don’t own common PT equipment. And at the start of the pandemic, nearly everything was sold out from both in-person and online stores. But products that used to be out of stock are making a comeback. Even if you don’t have some standard equipment, our PTs are great at improvising with what you do have in your home. Everyday furniture, cans of beans or veggies, or even spare change can all be utilized effectively. 

Is virtual physical therapy as effective as in-person visits?

There will also be differences between virtual and in-person physical therapy. But in some aspects, telehealth PT is more effective than driving to a clinic. For example, for Agile patients who received a mix of virtual care and in-person visits, the cost per episode of care decreased by 47%. Scheduling is much faster — by as much as 60%, it’s more flexible, and more convenient. Additionally, just like in-person visits, Agile patients receive care from the same licensed physical therapist during every call. 

If you’re interested in seeing the values of virtual PT during COVID-19, schedule an appointment today!