Something as simple as having your blood pressure and heart rate taken by a nurse or medical assistant is old hat at the doctor’s office. But now in the age of telemedicine, MotionWorks Physical Therapy is rolling out a new policy for taking vitals at physical therapy visits. While it will only occur at the first or second visit for those deemed high risk for cardiovascular disease by your Doctor of Physical Therapy, we believe that taking the time to screen for heart disease risk is more important now than ever. We recognize that the majority of our patients come see us without having seen a physician first. While this makes sense for expedient physical therapy care, it could lead to a missed unknown heart or vascular issue if patients are not regularly attending annual physicals.
Doctors of physical therapy are trained to take your vitals, and we are committed to going the extra mile in checking your heart rhythm too, screening for possible arrhythmias in addition to screening for high and low blood pressure, bradycardia (slow heart rate), and tachycardia (fast heart rate). We will share your vitals information with you right as we are taking it, so you can rest assured that all is well.
If we find that something in your vitals is amiss, we will share the results with you immediately, and also with your primary physician. You and your primary physician can then determine the best course of action based on our findings. Don’t be surprised if that course of action is a check-up that includes a double check of those very same vital measurements in the doctor’s office! As always, should there be emergency cardiovascular symptoms, we will call 911 or direct you to an urgent same-day appointment with your physician, whichever is most appropriate for the symptoms you are experiencing.
Should you report or have active symptoms of a cardiovascular issue, have concerns about your heart rate or blood pressure, or you just haven’t had your vitals checked in a while, we can check your vitals anytime upon request. Don’t be afraid to make this request at the start of your physical therapy visit, and to share any symptoms with your MotionWorks’ Doctor of Physical Therapy at your next visit, if you haven’t already shared them with your physician. We are considered extended providers who work with your physician to be their eyes and ears should anything be amiss with your health and well-being between check-ups.
Finally, just because COVID-19 is on everyone’s minds, DO NOT avoid going to the ER or seeking urgent care for any symptoms of a heart attack or stroke! Call 911 or visit your local ER immediately if you have any of the following symptoms: chest pain or heaviness with or without nausea and sweating, shortness of breath, pain in the left arm and shoulder or between the shoulder blades, unusual fatigue, facial asymmetry, blurred or changes in vision, unusual and/or worst headache of your life, slurred speech, sudden weakness or loss of sensation on one side of the body.