All posts by Teresa Stockton

improve posture at work

Improve Your Posture at Work

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improve posture at work

Postural muscles are used to prevent the forces of gravity from pushing us forward, help us maintain balance, and allow us to move effectively and efficiently. Poor posture, which can be caused by tight or weak muscles, stress, incorrect body positioning, obesity, and wearing uncomfortable shoes, puts a strain on the body and can lead to adverse health effects.

Given the potential risks of poor posture, it’s critical to understand how to improve your posture. Improved posture has been shown to improve mood, boost productivity, and reduce the risk of injury. By learning how to correctly position your body and working on strengthening relevant muscle groups, you can have a positive impact on your overall health and wellbeing.

The infographic below from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences highlights how to improve posture at work, whether you spend the majority of your day sitting, standing, driving, or lifting objects, and offers exercises and stretches to help strengthen postural muscles and relieve pain.

improve posture at work

Created by the team at usa.edu

prevent sports shoulder injuries

Tips to Prevent Sports Shoulder Injuries

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prevent sports shoulder injuries

If you have injured your shoulder with a fracture, strain, or a sprain, you need to rehab safely to take care of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. We usually injure our shoulders through either overuse, wear and tear of joints, trauma, or a false movement.

Common shoulder injuries include:

  • Bursitis
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Torn rotator cuff
  • Fracture
  • Dislocation
  • Impingement
  • Arthritis

 

Strengthening the Shoulder Muscles

The best way to avoid shoulder pain is to reduce the risk of an injury from happening. This can be done by working with your shoulder muscles to increase range-of-motion while building joint strength. As you work to strengthen your shoulder start slow and make sure to rest between practices.

If you are experiencing shoulder pain, speak to a health care professional for modified exercises. 
 

Here are some exercises that can help get lessen mild shoulder pain and prevent an injury from occurring.

 

1. External rotation with retraction
This exercise uses a gentle resistance band arm workout to help your shoulder.

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Take a long resistance band in both hands.
  • Have your elbows at your side (bent about 90 degrees) with your palms facing up.
  • Now gently move your forearms out to the side, about 6 to 8 inches.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together as best you can. Your forearms will move out a little bit further.
  • Hold in this position for a short pause, then return to your starting position.

 

2. Side-lying external rotation

  • Lie down on your side on a mat, with your weight on your elbow if you wish.
  • Place a rolled-up towel underneath your top arm (bent) to rest between your arm and your hip.
  • Hold a small weight (1/2kg – 2 kg depending on your size and strength) in your hand.
  • Start with the weight on the floor in front of your body, and rotate your arm slowly from the elbow.
  • Your hand should come up so that your lower arm is almost perpendicular to your body. Don’t go too far, as that will put stress on your shoulder.
  • Gently bring your hand back down, and repeat. Do this exercise slowly.

 

3. Shoulder abduction with anchored resistance
This exercise uses a resistance band anchored under your feet

  • Hold the band in your hand, thumb facing up
  • Lift your arm straight out to the side to shoulder height, and lower it back down.
  • Slowly return to the starting position and repeat for up to 10 reps
  • Switch arms and repeat

 

4. Bilateral shoulder extension
For this exercise, grab your long resistance band and stand with your feet hip-distance apart.

  • Pass the resistance band around the net post, or if you’re doing this at home, around a pillar or another stationary object at hip height.
  • Position yourself far enough away from the anchor point that there is tension in the band.
  • Hold one end the resistance band in your hands with your palms facing up, and your thumbs rotated outward.
  • Keeping a tight hold of the resistance band, bring your arms back (keep them straight) until it is against your side.
  • Bring your shoulder back and squeeze your shoulder blades together.

 

When is it time to get help?

Shortly after an injury or pain, you should start with the first steps of recovery rest, ice, and protection. If your shoulder pain doesn’t subside, a physical therapist can help guide you through a treatment plan tailored specifically to your needs. If you experience pain while doing an exercise program, stop immediately, and consult your healthcare provider.

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physical therapy benefits pregnant women

5 Ways Physical Therapy Benefits Pregnant Women

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physical therapy benefits pregnant women

Pregnancy is a wonderful process, but as part of the process, women endure many physiological changes, including an intense physical strain that can lead to discomfort and pain in certain parts of the body.

Most people associate physical therapy with patients that have suffered severe injuries from an accident. But they are not the only ones in need of it. Proper therapy is also fantastic for helping expectant mothers prepare for labor as well as remedying common discomforts associated with this special time. Since labor and delivery can be tedious, the need to prepare the body for the challenge should not be overlooked.

If you’re pregnant, don’t wait until the pain or other issues associated with pregnancy becomes unbearable before seeking help. Here, the PTandMe team takes a look at some of the reasons to consider physical therapy during this unique part of your life.

1. Lower back pain relief

The fact that there is new life forming inside a woman forces her body to change in wonderful ways that in turn leads to bouts of discomfort and even pain. Her center of gravity changes as the baby increases in size, leaving her struggling to maintain balance, especially while standing. The muscles of a woman’s bodywork to continuously provide support.

The alignment of a pregnant woman’s spine is eventually affected too, straining the back, shoulder, and neck muscles. If these changes go unchecked, many pregnant women develop lower back and/or SI pain. A recent study has shown that pregnant women with lower back or SI pain felt better with physical therapy. Physical therapy during the prenatal period helps manage these new aches and pains, thereby improving the quality of life.

2. The right choice of exercises

During pregnancy, women struggle with joint and spinal alignment, posture, muscle strength, weight gain, and nerve involvement. This could eventually lead to stress and fatigue, with a reduced willingness to participate in physical activity.

However, a physical therapist can recommend targeted exercises that increase muscle strength, easing the discomfort during pregnancy and after delivery.
Better still, the majority of these exercises are ones that can be performed at home without having to visit a gym. With improved metabolism and endurance, women are in better shape to drop some pounds after pregnancy – if that’s something they would like to do.

3. Ease other pregnancy complications

There are hormones released in the body during pregnancy that helps pregnant women adapt to their new reality. As these changes continue, women tend to struggle with other issues like nausea, heartburn, abdominal pain, and urinary problems, as well as musculoskeletal problems. Urinary issues typically involve difficulty in controlling the bladder due to the stretched pelvic floor muscles.

The right sleeping posture and a quality mattress can help with easing pregnancy pains and woes. Many experts advise placing a pillow between your legs and behind your back or investing in a wedge pillow. Similarly, if you are struggling to get precious zzz’s in bed, try sleeping in a recliner in a semi-upright position. This will take the weight off your feet and spine, relieve pressure and pains, and help with back pain. With physical therapy, women learn pelvic floor exercises, strengthening the muscles, and alleviating many common pregnancy issues, including incontinence.

4. Smoother labor and delivery

Unless advised otherwise by a physician, physical activity can improve strength and flexibility during pregnancy and childbirth. A perineal massage may also be recommended by your health care provider as it improves stretching during labor and reduces the chances of tears within that region while giving birth.

Electromyography (EMG) can also be used by the physical therapist to detect a suitable position that will be more comfortable for a more natural delivery. With proper testing, the biofeedback can provide enough information to guarantee a smooth process without complications.

5. A quicker recovery post-pregnancy

Like athletes and victims of accidents with severe injuries, women also need physical therapy to recover faster after childbirth.

Whether there was an episiotomy or not, all women would like to resume normal activities as soon as they can post-childbirth, without difficulties. With the right treatment and program, women can ease that pain much faster postpartum. Through strengthening those weakened muscles with selected exercises, you can enjoy a healthier and happier life.
Consider booking an online physical therapy appointment

Although we strongly recommend consulting a physical therapist, COVID-19 has made it difficult for them to offer regular assessment and treatment services in person. Fortunately, we work with some fantastic physical and occupational therapists who provide a range of assessments and recovery programs to help you get back to your routine fitness after injury.

To find out more about how physical therapy benefits pregnant women, contact a physical therapist near you.

ergonomic school space for kids

How to Make an Ergonomic School Space at Home

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ergonomic school space for kids

Make an Ergonomically Friendly School Space

With many districts beginning the school year at home, we wanted to continue our back to school theme, and talk about how to set up an ergonomically friendly school space for your child.

The good news is that kids have the same needs as adults, just in smaller sizes. To make an ergonomic school space for your child, you will want to make sure their:

  • Feet are flat on the floor or resting a footrest
  • Wrists and hands don’t rest on sharp or hard edges
  • Chair offers back support
  • Computer screen is at or slightly below eye level
  • Mouse and keyboard are positioned at a 90-degree angle to the elbows and the shoulders are relaxed.

Home School Ergonomics

If your child is using a laptop for online learning it can be difficult to position both the screen and keyboard at the prime levels for your child. We recommend that parents use a stand-alone keyboard and mouse. Now you can lift the laptop onto a stand or books until the screen is eye level. Looking down for an extended period can lead to neck and back pain.

text neck

Breaks Between Classes:

Breaks between classes are a great time to get your kids moving! Kids need about an hour of physical activity each day. To help with this, we have put together a list of physical activity recommendations. We have ideas for students from elementary through high school, so make sure to check it out and have fun with it!

Start the 2020 School year off right by taking advantage of our tips on how to make an ergonomic school space for your child.  If you or your child begin to experience pain while working from home or participating in online learning, we have a talented group of physical therapists throughout the country that can help you get rid of pain and make sure your home setup is working for your family.

physical therapy near me

PT News PTandMe

PT News August 2020

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PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout June & July 2020. We are excited to bring you current physical therapy based posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

1. Sports Periodization Can Help You Peak and Avoid Overuse Injuries

Written by Physical Therapy Plus with locations in Clinton, Hackettstown, and Washington, NJ.

As unfortunate as it is true, injuries and sports go hand in hand. An average of 8.6 million injuries in sports and recreational activities occur each year, which equates to about 34 injuries for every 1,000 individuals that participate. While some minor injuries might only lead to a short gap in participation, others can end seasons and lead to long-term complications if not rehabilitated properly.  Read more

 

sport specialization

2. Baseball Throwing Injuries

Written by Mishock Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical therapy practice with multiple locations throughout Montgomery, Berks, and Chester Counties. 

Most states have moved away from self-quarantine and are now resuming the “new normal” with COVID-19 in our midst. From March through June, youth and adolescent sports were canceled. Sports organizations are now trying to play catch up by squeezing spring and summer sports into July and August. With this ramp-up in games, we have seen a significant increase in sports-related injuries, especially baseball throwing injuries. Two such injuries are growth plate injuries of the throwing elbow and shoulder.  Read more

 

3. Get Back In The Saddle With Help from a Hand Therapist

Written by Rebound Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical and hand therapy practice with locations throughout Bend, OR.

Reaching out your arm to brace for a fall is instinctual. It’s no surprise, then, that some of the most common mountain biking injuries are fractures of the wrist, hands, fingers, and elbows. When a bike’s front tire hits a rock or loose dirt, it can cause the rider to fly off the bike and land on an outstretched arm.  Read more

Find these locations and others to start feeling better today!

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Physical therapy for basketball players

Physical Therapy for NBA Players

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Physical therapy for basketball players

Playing basketball is all about speed, fast breaks, agility, and high-impact movements. It is a vertical sport that includes jumping and landing activities that might lead to injuries.

Some of the best NBA players’ careers have been ruined because of injuries. This makes the need for physical therapists important, especially for NBA players.

A physical therapist working with basketball players knows the key factors that help minimize injury risk and maximize performance.

Certain injuries are more common in basketball and can impact a player’s overall performance in the game.

Here are the most common basketball injuries.

1- ACL and MCL Injuries

ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is one of the key ligaments that connect the thigh bone (femur) to the shinbone (tibia). It helps stabilize your knee joint. ACL injury happens when a player stops suddenly or changes the direction, resulting in stretching and tearing in the knee tissue.

On the other hand, MCL refers to a thick band of tissue on the inside of your knee that connects the thigh bone to your lower leg. MCL (medial collateral ligament) injury happens when the side of your knee is hit hard. It could be due to a collision with another player.

2- Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains are common in basketball, caused by overextension or a loss of balance when moving quickly. Basketball players are most likely to injure their ankle when they slow down, pivot, or land after a jump.

When the ankle rolls outward, the ligaments that connect the bones can stretch and tear. The injury could be as minor as stretching and as major as complete tearing of the ligamentous complex.

3- Fractured Kneecaps

In basketball, the kneecap fracture is mainly caused when the player lands directly on the kneecap. This can also happen if the knee is in a semi-flexed position during a fall.

The pain in this injury is felt behind the kneecap, where the knee meets the thigh bone. The pain is the result of excessive joint pressure due to poor kneecap alignment, affecting the joint surface behind the kneecap.

4- Hip and Thigh Contusions

Pelvis, hip, and thigh injuries in professional basketball players are extra-articular strains and contusions.

Hip and thigh contusions are common in sports like basketball, soccer, and football due to player-to-player contact. A sudden force to the quadriceps muscle causes the injury, which can significantly damage the tissue. This force is usually caused by another player, a sport attribute, or a misplaced fall on a severe object.

5- Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Patellofemoral pain syndrome refers to the pain in the front of the knee and around the kneecap. Sports players who participate in games that involve running, jumping, or squatting, frequently are more likely to face patellofemoral pain syndrome.

The increase in training intensity or volume puts repeated stress in the knee, resulting in pain behind the kneecap. Players with a tight hamstring, weak thigh, and hip muscles are at a higher risk.

 

Physical Therapy for Basketball Players

Physical therapy helps players avoid injury in the first place with targeted training. Most physical therapy programs for basketball players include stretching, strengthening, and conditioning.

1- Stretching Exercises for Inflexible Areas of the Body

After an evaluation, a physical therapist can work closely with athletes do determine the best treatment plan moving forward.  Some common stretches used for basketball players include:

● Rotating stomach and side stretch
● Squatting leg-out groin and adductor Stretch
● Single heel-drop calf and Achilles stretch.

These basketball stretches are best after the workout to improve flexibility.

2- Strengthening Exercises for Weak Muscles or Muscle Imbalance

Every basketball player has a difference in strength, power, and stability between their right and left legs. The players’ dominant leg plays a role in imbalance. Players prefer to use the stronger leg, which increases the chances of injury when the weaker leg is forced to use. To help identify these imbalances, a physical therapist may recommend a Functional Movement Screening (FMS). An FMS is a quantifiable method of evaluating basic movement abilities, and will help your therapist determine and address areas of weakness and imbalance.

3- Manual (Hands-on) Therapy to Address Any Sore or Painful Areas

Manual therapy involves kneading and manipulating soft tissues and joints, which increase circulation, reduce scar tissue, relax muscles, and decrease pain. This hands-on approach combined with a full treatment plan often yields faster recovery times.

4- Basketball-specific Training That Mimics the Action on the Court

Basketball training should be relevant to the game to produce desired results. A basketball player’s training must go from highly general to very specific. The goal of basketball conditioning is to create a practice that is highly specific to the game. This maximizes players’ focus on skill and tactical development while reducing the chances of injuries during the match.

Final Thoughts

Injuries like ACL, MCL, and ankle sprains are more common in basketball. Prevention of injuries is an essential aspect of an athlete’s healthcare. Comprehensive physical therapy programs are generally provided to the NBA players. If you are in pain or looking to avoid a basketball injury on the court, please find the physical therapist nearest you.

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Fitness after injury

Getting Back To Fitness After Injury: How To Do It Safely

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Fitness after injury

If you’re taking part in a sport and training regularly to hit peak performance, you’ll understand the impact an injury can have. Lost training days, empty pages on the diary, targets to revise and thoughts going around your head – what do I do now? The number one rule is don’t try to carry on. You could make the injury worse. Even if you feel okay, there’s a good chance you’ll pick up an injury somewhere else because you’re moving unnaturally by trying to protect the injured area.

The first step with minor injuries like muscle pulls or sprains is to get some ice on the injured area. That helps increase blood flow and starts removing waste from the injury. If your injury is more serious, get to a doctor or physical therapist for an assessment.

Healthcare professionals now recognize the health benefits of exercise and take a more positive attitude to injuries sustained through sport — that wasn’t always the case. But, qualified physical therapists specialize in sports injuries so you can be confident of expert advice, and a sympathetic ear.

Getting Back To Fitness After Injury

Look ahead

When you know the extent of your injury, it’s time to start looking ahead with a positive mindset. Forget the initial disappointment and frustration. Recovery programs are based on progressive exercise, not weeks or months of non-activity. Work out how you’re going to get your regular training and fitness routines back on track. Investing in a fitness tracker could help motivate you and keep track of your progress.

Top tip: Avoid the cookie jar. You know that old cliché ‘no pain, no gain’, now think ‘no train, weight gain.’

Start slowly

You’ve got the good news; your injury can be treated. You can’t wait to get back but don’t be tempted to rush recovery. If your physical therapist prescribes a course of treatment or exercises, stick to it and complete the course. You might think you’ve recovered and can get back to your normal training levels. Just ask around – hands up, who had to go back to physical therapy again?

Any exercise in your recovery period must start easy— and be progressive. So, easy jogging maybe, light stretches and simple exercises to flex and strengthen the injured area. If you’re running, the grass is easier on the legs than the road and the uneven surface can actually strengthen joints by making them work harder.

An alternative approach is to exercise in a different way. Swimming and cycling, for example, don’t affect the weight-bearing joints and muscles like running. But you’re still getting a good cardio workout. Whatever you do, make sure you can handle the work without strain. The same goes for the physical therapist’s exercise routines. Follow the instructions carefully.

Plan your return

Now you’re in recovery mode, you can start thinking about a return to normal levels. Put some realistic dates in your diary — can I make the big game, that local competition, or one of my favorite races? Targets for recovery are just as motivating as targets for competition. But, don’t be ruled by them, your recovery could take longer. Complete recovery comes first.

It’s also important to think about the injury. What caused it? Was it poor form, excessive training with no time for recovery between sessions, worn-out shoes if you’re a runner, or just an unfortunate accident?

Understanding the cause of the injury can help you plan your sessions when you eventually return to fitness. Think about reducing the duration or intensity of your training sessions, to begin with. Then plan a sensible, progressive build-up.

Follow hard days with easy days if you train every day and include one day of complete rest or different types of exercise every week. Make sure you build recovery into your program — overuse is a major cause of injuries.

Improve all-round fitness

If you haven’t included alternative exercises in your training programs before, think about it now. Most sportspeople focus on the muscle groups specific to their sport and ignore the rest. That can lead to an imbalance in the body and could be an underlying cause if you suffer frequent injuries.
Ask your physical therapist for advice. They will almost certainly recommend exercises to strengthen the core, plus some fitness routines to strengthen antagonistic muscle groups. Better all-round fitness can put you in great shape for improved performance when you return.

Recovering from non-sports injuries

While much of the focus of exercise-based recovery has been on sports injuries, recent research at Columbia University’s Zuckerman Institute has highlighted the potential importance of exercise for patients recovering from a stroke or serious brain injuries. It is said that exercise and physical therapy is just as important for these patients as speech therapy.

Experiments with mice indicated that mice given a complete rest were slower to return to normal functions than mice that re-engaged earlier with an activity like using whiskers for detection. Looking at the potential for people, the researchers believe that introducing simple exercise tasks earlier can stimulate and re-activate important areas of the brain and promote faster recovery.

Consider booking an online physical therapy appointment

Although we strongly recommend consulting a physical therapist, COVID-19 has made it difficult for them to offer normal assessment and treatment services in person. Fortunately, we work with some fantastic physical and occupational therapists who provide a range of assessments, recovery programs and can help you get back to your routine fitness after injury.

To find out more, contact our friendly team. Here you can learn about an injury, how physical therapy can treat it, and find a physical therapy clinic in your area.

Why You Shouldn't Put off going to physical therapy

Why You Shouldn’t Put Off Going to Physical Therapy

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Why You Shouldn't Put off going to physical therapy

You were not meant to live in pain. As therapists, we spend our entire careers working to help the people in our communities feel better and get back to the things they enjoy most. We know that living through a pandemic and social distancing won’t take your pain away – that injuries will still happen. Knowing this, we have decided to stay open and provide a safe environment where patients can come and receive care. 

Physical and Occupational Therapy are Essential Services. 

We are here to assist in keeping people healthy; physical and occupational therapists are essential in flattening the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have and continue to play a key role in keeping patients out of physician offices and hospitals. Our goal is to not only free up medical teams needed to treat those impacted by COVID-19 but also limit the exposure of those seeking care for treatment that a physical or occupational therapist can provide. 

What Can I Do if I’m Not Comfortable Going In?

We understand that we are in unprecedented times, and leaving home can be uncomfortable. You may try instead to lessen the pain by putting weight on one side rather than the other, or perhaps changing the way you sit or stand to avoid further discomfort. These slight modifications bring temporary relief but could lead to bigger issues if left unattended.

Luckily we have been able to implement a Telehealth option for those that aren’t quite ready to come into the clinic. This gives patients the opportunity to spend time one-on-one with a licensed therapist. During these virtual visits, our therapists can provide many of the same skilled services we offer in the clinic including an assessment of the patient’s condition, patient education, and progression of exercises to help improve:

  • Strength
  • Range of Motion
  • Posture
  • Neuromuscular Control
  • Patient Safety

What Precautions Are You Taking If I Decide to Visit In Person?

We are following all CDC and local guidelines to keep you safe. A detailed explanation of what we are doing can be found in our Your Health is Our Top Priority blog. 

Common Conditions We are Seeing Right Now

  • Pre & Post Surgical Rehabilitation: If you have recently had surgery, or your surgery has been postponed, we can help to decrease pain and swelling while improving range of motion and strength.
  • Low Back Pain and Sciatica
  • Repetitive Strain Injuries
  • Sports Injury Rehabilitation

If you are in pain, we are here to help. From in-clinic to at-home visits we will do everything we can to get you back on your feet.  We quite literally, have your back!

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PT News PTandMe

PT News July 2020

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PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout June & July 2020. We are excited to bring you current physical therapy based posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

1. Now is the Time to Start Physical Therapy

Written by Mishock Physical Therapy with multiple locations throughout Berks & Montgomery Counties in PA.

Now is the time to focus on your health and treat the pain that is limiting your function, leading to poor quality of life. This is the perfect time to start physical therapy. We can help!  Read more

 

physical therapy for headaches

2. Physical Therapy for Cervical Headaches

Written by The Jackson Clinics, an outpatient physical therapy practice with multiple locations throughout Central Virginia 

There are multiple types of headaches. Often a simple exam and a few questions can rule in or out cervical headaches as the cause. Very rarely are expensive imaging and testing is needed to achieve a diagnosis. Following an initial evaluation, a physical therapist will have the basis for understanding Read more

 

physical therapy for arthritis

3. Physical Therapy: Treating Arthritis the Safe and Easy Way

Written by Cornerstone Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical and hand therapy practice with 6 locations throughout the Columbus, OH Metropolitan Area.

Anyone living with arthritis knows how debilitating it can be. Several people dealing with arthritic aches and pains end up resorting to steroid injections, antirheumatic drugs, or even joint replacement surgery, in order to manage their pain. However, physical therapy itself has proven successful for many arthritis sufferers.  Read more

Find these locations and others to start feeling better today!

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physical therapy online

Now Providing Online Physical & Occupational Therapy Care

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physical therapy online

Our partnering clinics are now providing physical and/or occupational therapy care!

There are now two ways to help patients recover from injury:

  • In Person:We are still open and welcoming patients to receive the care they need in our clinic. Click here for more information about the precautions we are taking in the clinics to keep you safe.
  • Online Through Telehealth: Our partnering therapists can still complete a visit for patients that are unable to make it into the clinic.  They will use both VIDEO and AUDIO so that they can have two way communication during these physical and/or occupational therapy visits.

In order to make your telehealth appointment a success, here are the things you will need access to: 

  • Internet access
  • A device with a camera (computer, phone, tablet) that has access to email
  • Space to exercise

online physical therapy

For more information about online physical and occupational therapy services please contact your clinic directly.

physical therapy near me

*Not all locations may be set-up for online appointments.