People may fear having physical therapy, as interacting with others increases the risk of COVID-19 transmission. As with any treatment option, weigh the risks and benefits to determine the appropriate course of action. Home physical therapy is as effective as physical therapy in a clinic and overall benefits include:
- Fall prevention
- Improved balance, mobility, and movement
- Pain reduction
- Quicker recovery from injury
- Management of chronic conditions, such as Parkinson’s
The risk of COVID-19 transmission reduces greatly by wearing a mask, washing hands frequently, and maintaining a safe distance (six feet apart). Evidence shows wearing a mask helps prevent people infected with COVID-19 from transmitting the virus. For example, in late May, two hairstylists in Missouri had close contact with 140 clients while sick with COVID-19. Everyone wore a mask and none of the clients tested positive. Maintaining a safe distance may not always be possible during a physical therapy session. As such, the combination of mask wearing, and hand washing becomes even more important to create a safe environment. In this article, George Rutherford, MD, an epidemiologist recommends people always wear masks and socially distance, but thinks mask wearing is more important.
A home physical therapy session, accompanied by protective measures of mask wearing, hand washing, and safe distancing, is a safe and effective treatment option.