Last updated on July, 10

🏆 Best Online Physical Therapy for August 2021

Do you have a health condition that requires physical therapy? Do you want to get treated from the comfort of your own home? That’s where online physical therapy comes in. With an online session, you can get the same treatment as in-person PT without having to leave your house or schedule time off work.

What is online physical therapy

Are you recovering from an injury and are having difficulty traveling to your therapist? Then online physical therapy is for you! Online physical therapy programs use Apps and other software programs to diagnose muscle and joint problems virtually. Trained and certified therapists use secure live video feed to evaluate issues by assessing movements. Physical therapy online is a hassle-free, safe, and effective method to address the cause of pain or dysfunction. 

Why do you need online physical therapy?

Schedule Appointments Easily

Physical therapy classes online are easy to schedule and often only involve downloading an app, filling in some information, and selecting a specialist. You can book an appointment that fits your schedule, which is ideal if you are busy.

Select a Therapist

Since online physical therapy programs use software, you can access specialized therapists. You are not restricted to the professionals who live nearby but can decide to work with anyone you wish. This flexibility is an excellent advantage for those who have specific needs that require specialization.

Get a Quick Assessment

On the day of your appointment, all you have to do is log-in to the App and allow the therapist to join your video session. Therapists will ask you questions about your pain and ask you to perform simple tasks to get a mechanical assessment. Based on your performance, they will diagnose your issue and offer you a treatment plan.

Recover Immediately

Once the online physical therapy assistant has diagnosed your problem, they will provide you with a detailed program for fast recovery. You can start this program immediately without having to schedule any appointments or wait for vacancies. The sooner you begin your plan, the quicker your recovery will be.

Save Time and Money

Online physical therapy is an affordable option, usually charged per 30 minutes for a virtual visit.  Since you only need to install an App for the session, you can save on other expenses like transportation. You only need to log-in to the App on the time your appointment, and you will save a big portion of your time.

Maintain Your Privacy

Online physical therapy means that you can get the care you need in the privacy of your own home. You don’t have to sit in a waiting room with other clients—and your session stays between you and your therapist.

Access the Service Anytime, Anywhere 

Online physical therapy services allow you to get care anywhere you need it. If you live in an isolated area with no access to traditional therapy clinics, online physical therapy is the solution. You can even make an appointment while you are traveling and have a session with your therapist at the same time.

Core features of online physical therapy 

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Easy Navigation 

The best online physical therapists use applications or websites that are easy to access and navigate. Look for a site that makes setting appointments, scheduling, and communication easy. Online physical therapy Apps should be easy to download and compatible with different operating systems.

Simple Scheduling

Online physical therapy sites should make scheduling fast and straight-forward. You only need to fill out a form with the necessary information and then schedule an appointment to your convenience. Since your goal is to save time queuing in an office, the virtual physical therapy site you use should have excellent scheduling procedures to achieve that.

Progress Monitoring

Online physical therapy programs use different techniques to monitor your progress. Programs that utilize applications often use cloud-based data access to track your progress as you go through the sessions. After each session, you should get feedback that you can send to your primary care provider.

Certified Physical Therapists

You need to make sure the therapist you are working with is certified and experienced in the field. They should be able to show some certifications such as an online physical therapy degree or other accreditation. The American Physical Therapy Association offers additional accreditation for PT’s that applies to online therapists. Online therapy platforms often list the credentials of their therapists along with their license numbers that you can check.

Professionally Accredited

Physical therapists are rated based on the organizations they join. For example, the American Physical Therapy Association provides necessary resources and education to professionals. A therapist part of this association shows they are seeking improvement and are up-to-date with developments in the field. Platforms that have therapists like these are reliable.

Up-to-Date 

The last thing you want is a therapist who doesn’t have the latest information on proper techniques and diagnosis. The best online physical therapy programs make sure their personnel attend seminars, lectures, and conferences and use the latest technologies in the field.

Private and Secure

Maintaining patient privacy is one of the most important aspects of online physical therapy programs. The App or software they use should be Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA compliant using robust encryption methods to ensure safety and confidentiality.

Honest Representation

Therapists should have an active state license and show proof upon request. You check the name and license number of the therapist on a state website to verify their credentials. Your therapist should also state what they can do before beginning therapy.

Convenient Payment Methods

Your insurance company does not usually cover online physical therapy sessions. Make sure the service provider offers a variety of efficient payment methods. Also, make sure that you get an invoice so you can get reimbursement from your insurance company if they cover online therapy sessions.

Multiple Therapists

A well-established online therapy platform offers access to different therapists. Having numerous therapists available ensures that you can get specialized service. Often, you will be given a list of the therapists available in your state, along with their credentials. However, other websites may automatically match you with a therapist based on your preferences.

Online Support

An excellent online support system may include 24-hour chat services, a toll-free number, or email service to respond to inquiries. The website should also have a FAQ section that acts as a knowledge base and answers questions. Online physical therapy programs often allow you to communicate with your therapist directly.

Types of online physical therapy 

Video Sessions                    

Video counseling is one of the most effective types of online therapy because it offers a similar experience to traditional treatment. Physical therapists, in particular, use video sessions to help in diagnosis and procedure, which requires one-on-one sessions. Video online therapy removes the inconveniences of in-office treatment while providing the same level of care.

Pro #1: Allows Personal Connection with the Therapist 

You can still enjoy a personal relationship with your therapist, which will make you more comfortable during your sessions. Video sessions enable you to read non-verbal cues and determine the character of your therapist. This will help you choose a therapist that fits your needs. 

Pro #2: Provides Familiar Environment 

Since you can see your therapist via video conference, these sessions are similar to traditional therapy. If you have been part of conventional therapy programs, you will appreciate this setting.

Pro #3: Fast and Straight-Forward Consultation 

Being able to see your therapist while they diagnose your issues makes consultation easier. You can see what your therapist wants you to do during a meeting and get feedback immediately.

Pro #4: Convenient Therapy Sessions 

You won’t need to dress up or travel to get the benefits of your session. Video conferencing allows you to make progress in the comfort of your home.

Pro #5: Improved Patient Care 

Since an online physical therapist has immediate access to your information, they can offer timely and accurate care. Video conferencing allows therapists to continually communicate with their patients and ensure proper administration of treatment.

Pro #6: Reduced Cost 

Video conferencing offers the same level of care as an office visit consultation while limiting costs. Since your therapist is not renting a clinic or paying other staff, their professional cost is more economical. You will only pay the session fee, which is lower than the traditional prices. 

Pro #7: Remote Support 

By using video conferencing, you can see your specialist even when you are sick or unable to travel. Therapists can perform initial consultations, follow-ups, and other monitoring remotely, so you continue to progress.

Pro #8: Easy Set-Up 

Most online therapy sites use Applications that are easy to install and use. These apps are also secure, so sessions are between you and your therapist. You can begin your therapy session using your tablet, cellphone, or laptop and access your information anywhere.

Con #1: Requires Strong Internet 

Video sessions require a fast internet connection and reasonable quality camera and microphone. Those living in remote areas with limited access may not be able to use video conferencing.

Teletherapy

This type of online therapy uses a phone or audio-only during a consultation. Physical therapy assistant online programs often make use of this cost-effective method. Usually, teletherapy is used as a complement to video-conferencing and not as a stand-alone service.

Pro #1: Keeps Communication Open 

When you find yourself with a limited internet connection, teletherapy can bridge the gap and ensure you don’t miss a session. Teletherapy ensures that you continue to get the care you need wherever you are.

Pro #2: Ideal for Remote Areas 

Those who live in remote areas that lack sufficient internet access can still get professional help. All you need is a phone to get access to expert support and start your journey to recovery.

Pro #3: Useful as a Support System 

Therapists that specialize in substance abuse, smoking cessation, and suicide prevention often use teletherapy to communicate with their patients. Using text messages or emails, therapists can provide continuous support, which is essential for these conditions.

Con #1: No Face-to-Face Interaction 

Teletherapy misses the face-to-face interaction that is vital for effective online physical therapy.

Who needs online physical therapy?

People Living in Remote Areas

Online physical therapy offers access to treatment to people in remote or rural areas. Those living in such areas may not have access to traditional in-person medicine because no therapists are practicing nearby. Having to drive long distances to make appointments can be a burden. With online physical therapy, all you need is a reliable internet connection, and you will have quick access to treatment.

Those with Physical Limitations

If you are disabled or housebound, online physical therapy provides accessibility to professional services efficiently. Since mobility is limited, you won’t need to travel and can continue your treatment at home. Those who have physical or mental illness and are unable to leave their home will also find online treatment a useful alternative.

Injured Individuals

Anyone who has recently been injured may find it challenging to make in-person appointments with therapists. Online therapy programs ensure that you can start your journey to recovery without further injury. These programs will help you become physically active sooner.

Children with Impairments

Children with developmental delays can benefit from online physical therapy sessions. The accessibility of this therapy will reduce the preparation required to take the child to a physical clinic. Children will also be more at ease in this private setting and will be more likely to cooperate with therapists. 

Elderlies

Older adults usually need physical therapy to improve balance, posture, and mobility. Online sessions remove the need for travel, which is ideal for those with mobility issues. Older adults can continue to make progress, reduce the risk of falls, and improve their overall health with these convenient sessions.

Nurses

Nurses with patients who have mobility issues or are recovering from injuries can utilize online physical therapy programs to supplement their care. With the help of these programs, nurses can continue to help their patients recover while providing necessary support.

Step-by-step guide in finding an online physical therapist

Step 1: Consult your physician.

If you’re feeling any pain or discomfort, it’s best that you consult your physician first. Sometimes, you need something more than physical therapy, like surgeries, and you should address these problems first before looking for a therapist. 

Step 2: Ask for recommendations.  

Once your physician prescribes you to get physical therapy, ask them for referrals or any recommendations. Or, you can ask your family and friends too. This way, you’d easily know who their trusted therapists are, helping you narrow down your choices.

Step 3: Choose your physical therapist and book an appointment.

After receiving your recommendations, decide on where to get your physical therapy sessions. Also, choose the type of online therapy that you want to go for and book an appointment. Some service providers offer free consultations, while others ask for a fee. Before proceeding with your booking, make sure to read the therapist’s terms first.

Step 4: Consult with your therapist and attend your sessions.

Once booked, wait for your appointment. Usually, during your first consultation, your physical therapist will talk to you about your case before giving you their instructions. Then, once you agree to their prescribed rehab process, regularly attend your sessions and commit to your regimen.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Security is one of the significant concerns when using the internet, especially if you are accessing health services online. While most providers may do everything to keep the information confidential, some may pose a risk to your privacy. According to the American Psychiatric Association and the American Telemedicine Association, online therapy providers have guidelines to follow. Here are things to look out for to ensure your safety:

· Server security

Servers manage traffic and direct all messages and work that pass through an online system. Servers can also store information, so protecting them is of top priority. Although the level of server security may be difficult to discover, look for a statement on the site regarding it.

HIPAA Compliance

According to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, therapists are required to follow specific guidelines even online. These laws include the security of therapy notes and medical records that are only to be accessed by you or a personal representative. The Privacy Rule does not require your therapist to share information with other providers.

Encryption

Many online therapy providers have added encryption to their systems to enhance security. This encryption makes it impossible for a third party to access information which protects your online therapy sessions.

Some insurance plans offer coverage for video conferencing therapy; however, phone or audio therapy is not covered by health plans. It is wise to verify your coverage with your insurance carrier to find out about your benefits.

Online physical therapy is beneficial, in particular, video therapy. It offers individuals a chance to get quality care in comfortable surroundings and at an affordable rate. The therapists are certified by a physical therapy school online or offline and use proven and tested techniques to achieve results. Online schools for physical therapy train therapists to effectively use video conferencing to diagnose and treat common conditions. 

The price of online physical therapy will depend on the style of service, and the platform the therapist is connected to. Some websites offer subscription-style services while others bill per treatment hour. Generally speaking, online therapy is more affordable than traditional in-person medicine. Not only do you save on transportation, but you also save time. Since online therapists don't have to rent office spaces, they can offer lower fees compared to clinic-based therapists. 

No. Online physical therapy is only designed to address non-emergency musculoskeletal issues. If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency or have had an operation, you should not use virtual treatment. Here is a guide of some Video-Based online therapy programs and who can benefit from them:

Posture Training

Online posture training will help keep your bones and joints aligned, which decreases the strain on the spine. Better posture, in turn, prevents fatigue and muscular pain. On a video session with your therapist, you will learn how to correct your posture and learn the proper position for sitting, driving, and lifting.

Gross motor skills training

Developing your motor skills may be necessary after an injury or stroke. Online physical therapy can help you regain full use of your muscles using specialized techniques. Your therapist will provide appropriate videos featuring exercises you can perform at home.

Strength training

An online physical therapist can show you the proper technique to lift weights to prevent injury. Strength training is especially crucial if you are recovering from an injury. With video conferencing, you will learn how to regain your strength slowly.

Balance training

Keeping a proper balance helps maintain stability and prevent falls. Older adults, in particular, need this type of training to avoid ankle injury and reduce the risk of ligament problems. Purposefully training your body to improve in balance can have a positive impact on your overall health.

A personalized home exercise program

These programs are tailor-made to fit your unique physical level taking into consideration any conditions you may have. Online physical therapists will design a plan that meets your needs and prevents injuries.

Most online therapy sites and Apps can be accessed from your phone, but you’ll need to verify this with the website and determine any limitations they have.

Yes. Most applications and software systems use mobile geolocation to note that you are traveling. You can then have the option of updating the clinician list to the same State so you can find a therapist easier.

Once your session is complete, you will have access to your evaluation which you can download and forward to your physician. The online physical therapist is not obliged to share your information with any other health care provider, so it is up to you to pass the information.

Yes. There are many physical therapy courses online that offer physical therapy assistant online courses and other related courses. Once students graduate, they can get a physical therapy degree online, which qualifies them to practice. Physical therapists from physical therapy online colleges are given the same recognition as those who graduate from traditional colleges. It is also common for physical therapists to continue education online by enrolling in physical therapy classes online. 

PTAs provide PT services under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist. They can work in a variety of settings and help measure changes in the patient’s performance. To work as a PTA, you must be a graduate with an associate degree. Physical therapy assistant programs online offer courses that can earn students a physical therapy assistant degree online. You can even find physical therapy assistant schools online that offer the same training as traditional schools. 

Online therapists should be licensed to provide therapy. A reputable site will clearly state the type of licenses their medical professionals hold. You can double-check the license of therapists using a state website that shows all licensed professionals in the state. Physical therapist assistants should also complete online physical therapy assistant programs to qualify. 

This usually depends on the website. Some sites will let you choose a therapist that is closest to you, and you can read their bios before making your choice. Other sites ask you to complete a survey stating your needs and preferences and then assign a therapist that matches. 

Some websites can prescribe medications like antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication. These are often sites that offer psychiatry-related therapy. You will need to inquire whether the site can prescribe you medication.

Online therapy is not limited to physical therapy but also encompasses several conditions:

Depression, anxiety, and stress

Online therapy offers the same results as one-on-one therapy. Individuals who have been diagnosed with depression will appreciate the privacy and security provided with this type of treatment. Studies show that using web-based programs improved psychological wellbeing.

Panic Disorder

Cognitive-behavioral therapy that uses techniques such as cognitive restructuring and exposure therapy is an effective strategy for panic disorder. Online therapy sessions via texting or video conferencing platforms are cost-effective concerning therapist time.

Schizophrenia

Telephone and texting therapy is ideal for improving medication adherence for individuals who live independently. Studies show that social interactions increased while the severity of hallucinations reduced after teletherapy sessions.

Diabetes management

Online therapy can be used by nurses of diabetic patients to monitor the administration of diabetes treatment. With video conferencing or teletherapy, nurses can continue to monitor their patients who are homebound.

Smoking cessation

Intervention programs that utilize text messaging or online messaging can help smokers quit by providing continuous support. Online therapy for smoking cessation is an excellent supplement to existing smoking cessation services.

There are different approaches to online therapy, so before you decide on an online therapy program, it is helpful to ask what treatment method they will use. You first need to know the style that will work for you. Just like traditional therapists, there are specializations in online therapists. These are some of the common forms of online therapy you’ll see:

Person-Centered Therapy

In this type of therapy, your therapists act as a guide or coach and work with you to overcome challenges and reach your goals. The goal of the therapist is to offer you the best solution by providing a personalized program for you to follow. This approach allows you to develop a relationship with your coach and uses listening, empathy, and feedback during sessions.

Psychodynamic Therapy

This style of online therapy is closely related to psychoanalysis. The goal of the therapist is to try and interpret your subconscious by reviewing events in your life and determining how these events shaped you. This approach is useful if you want to learn more about yourself and get a better grip on the current challenges you face.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This approach to online therapy is used to address depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and even eating disorders. CBT uses a problem-focused approach and focuses on the problem you are facing while helping you find means to cope. Those who use CBT end up with a better quality of life and improvement in problem-solving.