"Physical therapy is not a subspecialty of the medical profession and physical therapists are not medical doctors; we are a separate profession that provides a unique service that physicians are unable and untrained to provide."

Letter to the AMA from the APTA, Dec 2009

Saturday, September 25, 2010

On the benefits of Seeing a Physiatrist

Not many people are familiar with the term “physiatrist”; while they know what a physical therapist does and they’re no strangers to doctors, they are not aware that a physiatrist is a physician and a physical therapist rolled into one.

Simply put, a physiatrist is the person who cares for people with physical impairments and disabilities and pain caused by acute and chronic conditions. They’re medical doctors who specialize in restoring optimal function to injured and damaged muscles, bones, tissues and the nervous system.

If you suffer from acute and chronic diseases that affect the quality of your life, cause you severe and debilitating pain, and prevent you from moving well or using your limbs and joints optimally, here’s why you would benefit from seeing a physiatrist:
  • You eliminate the need for surgery: some doctors may tell you that conditions like a slipped or prolapsed disc could require that you undergo a painful and stressful surgery – you not only have to go through the complicated procedure but also spend a lot of time in bed recuperating from the operating.
  • However, when you consult a physiatrist, you may find that there’s no need for a corrective surgery and that exercises and physical therapy alone are enough to improve the quality of your life, enable you to move freely, and eliminate the constant pain.

  • Treatment is customized for your condition: In physiatry, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment – your doctor is qualified to examine you thoroughly, analyze your condition, and suggest a holistic treatment that is designed to eliminate pain and enable fluid movement. Every patient is treated differently, based on their condition (chronic or temporary), pain level, ability to move, and difficulty in leading a normal life.

  • You boost the quality of your life: Even if your condition is not completely curable, your physiatrist will suggest ways to improve the quality of your life through moving aids and implements, teach you exercises that prevent loss of muscle mass and keep you active and flexible even though your mobility is limited, and continue to monitor your condition and change treatment based on your response and improvement.
Unlike chiropractors and massage therapists, a physiatrist is a fully qualified doctor with over 8 years of academic study and many years of experience.

A physiatrist can help you treat mobility issues and pain caused by various conditions including strokes, spinal cord injuries, sports-related injuries, multiple sclerosis and other neuromuscular disorders, cancer, brain injuries caused by trauma, lung conditions, back, knee and shoulder problems and other musculoskeletal disorders, accidental injuries, amputations, arthritis and other debilitating conditions, and other movement-related disorders that affect the quality of your life.

It takes patience and perseverance to improve the quality of your life and eliminate pain, so stick with your therapy, and see how much you stand to gain from physiatry.

By-line: This guest post is contributed by Paul Hench, he writes on the topic of masters in public health. He welcomes your comments at his email: paul.23hench@gmail.com

Paul decided to start a website to help students find online programs in Public Health. So he listed all the schools and Universities offering public health degree programs. He created the site MastersInPublicHealth.net and now he is providing his full efforts to bring this to the front.

He is trying to become the first unbiased resource that students can use to research every single accredited Public Health program offered by a college or university in the US.

Paul has a passion for writing articles on Health, Education and masters in public health programs. He and his wife Mary resides in Texas, USA and Mary is now continuing her online Masters in Public Health.

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Tim Richardson, PT owns a private practice at Medical Arts Rehabilitation, Inc in Palmetto, Florida. The clinic website is at MedicalArtsRehab.com.

Bulletproof Expert Systems: Clinical Decision Support for Physical Therapists in the Outpatient Setting is a manager's workbook with stories, checklists, charts, graphs, tables, and templates describing how you can use paper-based or computerized tools to improve your clinic's Medicare compliance, process adherence and patient outcomes.

Tim has implemented a computerized Clinical Decision Support (CDS) system in his clinic since 2006 that serves as a Reminder, Alerting, Prompting and Predicting CDS using evidence-based tests and measures.

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