What is the Difference Between Physical Therapy and Physiatry?

In a previous blog, we discussed the role of a Physiatrist and how these Physicians specialize in working with patients to decrease pain, maximize non-surgical options, and improve function.  At the Michigan Center for Regenerative Medicine, we’re extremely passionate about leveraging our knowledge of human anatomy and physiology to help people reduce pain and improve their function and enjoy an active lifestyle.

One question that we’re often asked is what’s the difference between physical therapy and Physiatry? While the two may sound similar, they occupy different roles of care in medicine.  In this blog, we will discuss the different roles of these 2 very different fields.

Physiatrists are board certified physicians specializing in function. 

Physiatrists are board certified physicians who are highly specialized in the diagnosis and treatments of neuromuscular conditions. To become a Physiatrist, individuals must complete 4 years of undergraduate degree followed by 4 years of medical school and another four additional years of specialty training.  During this training period, Physiatrists receive extensive training in the diagnosis and treatment of the musculoskeletal and neuromuscular systems.  This means that they are experts in sports medicine, pain management, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, amputee care, and everything related to function.  Physiatrists specialize in not just the medical management of injury and dysfunction, they also utilize interventional procedures and modalities to achieve these goals.

During more complicated cases where a comprehensive rehabilitation plan is needed; a referral to physical therapy may be a part of the treatment plan.  The Physiatrist acts as the conductor in the medical orchestra that includes physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy, among others.

Physiatrists and physical therapists are experts in musculoskeletal medicine

At the Michigan Center for Regenerative Medicine, we individualize our treatments to tailor to you, our patients.  We utilize the most advanced techniques in regenerative medicine to repair anatomical structures.  A big part of this comprehensive plan is a referral to physical therapists in the area to optimize your recovery and rehabilitation.  The goal of rehabilitation is to correct poor mechanics brought on by the injury and to prevent further injuries in the future.  In MCRC, we believe working with physical therapists in the area is an integral part in the healing process.

Should you have any questions about the intersection between physiatry and physical therapy, feel free to reach out to the team at the Michigan Center for Regenerative Medicine. We’ll be happy to sit down with you to discuss your condition and determine whether a combined approach of physiatry in conjunction with physical therapy could be beneficial for you. Give us a call today at (248) 216-1008 to setup an appointment.

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