3 New Technologies That Are Improving the Physical Therapy World

Written by: 
Daymar College

physical therapy

As the world grows, so does technology. Each passing day there is a new break through that has us spinning and asking, “How in the world does someone think of that?”

Physical therapy is an industry that continues to develop new, innovative ideas that speed up recovery times, increase comfort levels and ultimately get the patient back to a normal life. With new equipment and technology being developed every day, the industry needs well-educated and capable people who want to make helping others a career.

At Daymar we know the physical therapy industry is ever-changing, and we’re educating students to tackle those changes head-on. Here are three new technologies that are improving patient rehabilitation. 

The Newest Break Through in Physical Therapy Rehabilitation

Look out for what researchers are calling ‘soft robots.’ These sausage hook look-a-likes have been around for some time now, but new studies show that these robotic components may allow soft robot technology to be incorporated into the physically therapy world.

So what are these worm-like attributes, more often referred to as soft pneumatic actuators (SPAs)? According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), an SPA is designed to withstand a substantial amount of air pressure without distorting its shape. With further testing and development, researchers believe they have come across the right combination of materials that will suit the needs of physical therapists better than traditional methods.1

While this technology is a positive step in the right direction for physical therapy, researchers still agree there is a lot of room for improvement when it comes to physical therapy and physical rehabilitation. 

Making Physical Therapy Fun with Wii

You’re on your way to physical therapy, dreading the painful exercises and drills you are about to endure but when you get there, your therapist hands you a Wii game controller. Best day ever, right?

Therapists are now adding a new style of physical, occupational and neurological rehabilitation by making it more enjoyable. When patients are entertained with an assignment or exercise they are more active and engaged in their therapy.2   

According to Supplemental Health Care, a healthcare staffing company that is quality certified with The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval, studies have found that adding the element of competition has also been shown to help speed up recovery times. 

Using the Wii, patients can practice full range-of-motion movements as well as activities that involve balancing and coordination. Incorporating these exercises into a patient’s daily rehabilitation can result in an improvement in confidence and mobility.3  

The Robotic Ekso Suit

What does a robotic exoskeleton suit have to do with physical therapy?

These suits were originally designed for military purposes to help soldiers carry heavy loads. Now Ekso Bionics is adding a new capability to their portfolio: physical therapy rehabilitation. With help from these suits and physical therapists, victims of stokes, traumatic brain and spinal cord injury are now able to get moving as soon as possible after an injury.4  

 “What’s really exciting about our device, is [patients] can get up, and they get usually two to three hundred steps in the very first session,” Nathan Harding, CEO and co-founder of Ekso Bionics, said. 

Right now, the suits are only available to clinics and rehabilitation centers and not for individual use. 

Your Physical Therapist Assistant Career Starts Here

With the physical therapy assistant career expected to grow 40 percent from 2014-20245, a career in this industry might be the perfect match for you. 

Physical therapist assistant courses at Daymar College can help prepare you for a career and give you the opportunity to learn the skills needed to succeed.

Take the first step toward your physical therapist assistant career: contact us or enroll today!

Our physical therapist assistant program is available at our Clarksville location.

1http://www.apta.org/PTinMotion/News/2016/10/14/SoftRobots/

2http://blog.supplementalhealthcare.com/patient-care-forum/3-physical-the...

3http://blog.supplementalhealthcare.com/patient-care-forum/3-physical-the...

4http://www.popsci.com/watch-paralyzed-man-take-stroll-bionic-exoskeleton...

5http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physical-therapist-assistants-and-aide...