Can You Do Physical Therapy at Home? Here’s the Scoop on This Common Question

If you could just stay home and do physical therapy yourself:  reduce pain and discomfort, while improving mobility, range-of-motion, movement, and how you feel, why wouldn’t you want to just turn to the crystal ball of the internet for answers and get started! The truth is, “can you do Physical Therapy at home?” is a question a lot of people have. Due to hectic schedules, fear of the unknown, misconceptions, or other reasons, sometimes people might try to DIY some serious medical skills.

The answer is: no…but also, sometimes – under specific circumstances.

First off, as we’ve said before, Dr. Google isn’t a real doctor and you definitely shouldn’t rely on your computer to diagnose you. A Physical Therapist is able to perform a thorough assessment of your musculoskeletal system, and make a recommendation should you need to see a specialist or imaging. A Physical Therapist also often performs a combination of manual (hands-on) therapy, education about your condition, and instruction on exercises performed in the clinic and at home.

There are absolutely parts of your PT that you should do at home – and those are what your Physical Therapist has told you to work on. When you’re working with an expert, you’ll have guidance on the right exercises and stretches for your unique condition. You’ll learn how to do your exercise program at home, as well as how often. A large part of your success is based on your participation in the custom treatment plan designed by your Physical Therapist. That is exactly the right time to try doing PT at home.

Another time you can gain the benefits of Physical Therapy at home is via a virtual appointment. There are plenty of reasons you might not be able to make it into our clinic, and we want to make PT as accessible as possible. You’ll meet with your Physical Therapist via Zoom, using a connected device like a laptop or tablet. In a Tele-PT appointment, your Physical Therapist can watch you move, evaluate functional performance, provide guidance and education, and answer your questions. In this case, doing PT at home is great – because you’re working with your actual Physical Therapist like you would in our office.

What we suggest avoiding is turning to the internet and winging it yourself. Well-meaning friends and family, advice from people on social media, checklist quizzes on medical sites – none of these can (or should) take the place of a highly-trained, expert Physical Therapist who will assess you using years of education and experience. In fact, if you misdiagnose your issue (which is common), you can do more harm than good by jumping into stretches and exercises that can slow your recovery or worsen your condition. We get it! It’s tempting to plug in some search terms or watch a few YouTube videos thinking that you’ll fix yourself. Instead, seeing an expert who can assess you directly and provide education and answers is the best route to a healthy outcome. Want it to be even easier to figure out what’s wrong? We have you covered. Body One offers free injury screening at each of our three locations. Don’t wait out an injury or nagging problem, get answers – fast and free.

If you’ve tried ‘at-home PT’ we won’t judge you, but we’ll show you the difference between Physical Therapists and online guessing. Our caring, expert Physical Therapists work with clients of all ages and activity levels and we’d love to help get you moving and feeling better, too. We’re locally owned and operated, with three locations serving Central Indianapolis: North Indy/Carmel, Fishers, and Zionsville. If you’re having pain or problems of the musculoskeletal system, we’re only a call or click away! If you want some videos showing helpful Physical Therapy info and injury prevention tips, visit our YouTube page. If you’re ready to feel better, we’re ready to help. Contact us today!