Patients recovering from an illness or injury can suffer from mobility and functionality issues. Usually, doctors will recommend a rehabilitation plan as part of the treatment, which includes seeing a specialist in physical medicine (a physiatrist) and a physical therapist. Patients that undergo a physical rehabilitation program have better outcomes than those who recover on their own.
A lot of people think physiatrists and physical therapists are one and the same, however, they are not. Oftentimes, physiatrists and physical therapists work hand in hand when treating patients. So, what is the difference between physical medicine and physical therapy?
The Physical Medicine Practitioner or Physiatrist
A physiatrist is an expert in the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation and specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of patients with mobility issues as a result of illness, injury, or surgery.
A physiatrist is a trained physician who uses physical methods in the rehabilitation of patients with musculoskeletal conditions. Examples of treatment methods include physical therapy and medication. Unlike other practitioners of medicine, physiatrists do not use surgery and many minimally-invasive techniques in treatment.
A physiatrist makes and readjusts rehabilitation plans to help patients improve function and mobility. Adjustments may also be made to accommodate a patient’s pre-existing condition, such as arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart attack risk.
What differentiates a physiatrist from a physical therapist is their education and special training. With their expertise in physical medicine, a physiatrist can work with a physical therapist for application and continually monitor your progress as you go through the rehabilitation program.
Most patients are more familiar with physical therapists, who are health care specialists in physical therapy. They are highly trained in physical therapy exercises that target specific musculoskeletal components that improve function for patients, compensating for impaired joints and weakened muscles. Physical therapists are not doctors, unlike physiatrists. They often work very closely with surgeons, doctors (including physiatrists), sports coaches, and other professionals to do their job.
A physiatrist is the master planner while the physical therapist executes the plan. They may use accessories such as resistance bands, foam rollers, and devices, such as an exercise bike and a treadmill. Regular sessions with a physical therapist can restore a patient’s function and improve their mobility. With improved mobility, patients get to regain independence and enjoy a higher quality of life.
Rehabilitation Through Physical Therapy in Austin, Texas
If you wish to restore your function and mobility, the team of qualified physical therapists at Endeavor Physical Therapy have decades of experience helping patients such as yourself make a complete recovery from illness, injury, and surgery.
Apart from our physical therapy services, we provide friendly and compassionate care to all our patients. We want you to maximize your recovery, and we believe that includes a highly personalized approach to your care.
Talk to us about your rehabilitation goals, and we are happy to listen and help. Reach out to us at (512) 284-7192 or send us an appointment request today. The Endeavor Physical Therapy team is excited to exceed your expectations!