We are used to talking about physiotherapy, but not everyone knows exactly what it is, or what the physiotherapist does and what the physiatrist does. The correct term is physiatry, which is a branch of medicine aimed at restoring full functionality to injured or diseased parts of the body, which affect the musculoskeletal system or the nervous system. The physiatrist is therefore the doctor who diagnoses and coordinates therapies to improve the lifestyle through a “technical-motor” approach.
Specifically, the physiatrist brings together numerous skills in orthopedics, neurology, rheumatology, geriatrics, cardiology, pulmonology, pediatrics, stomatognathics. The physiotherapist, his “main ally”, also works in these many areas.
Do we often tend to confuse these two figures, who actually have different roles, paths and skills? But what is the difference between physiatrist and physiotherapist?
Without going into technicalities, the main difference is that the physiatrist is to all intents and purposes a doctor (therefore a medical graduate) specialized in physiatrics. The physiotherapist, on the other hand, is a health professional (who has therefore followed a specific degree course).
Therefore generally the physiatrist is the one who makes the diagnosis on the patient, while the physiotherapist consequently puts into practice the appropriate therapy for the diagnosis of the physiatrist.
Aimed at fully involving the patient through education, awareness and empowerment, thanks to physiotherapy it is also possible to improve the process of symptoms that characterize neurological diseases such as stroke, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s, or neuromusculoskeletal disorders such as back, whiplash, sports injuries, arthritis, or cardiovascular problems such as chronic heart disease, as well as post-heart attack or respiratory rehabilitation for conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis.
In therapeutic practice, it mainly uses physical or mechanical means such as light radiation (phototherapy), heat (thermotherapy), electricity (electrotherapy), water (hydrotherapy) or even pure physical exercise. To define the most adequate and most effective technique, the type of injury and also the type of pain must be taken into consideration.
The most common method remains that of mechanical force exerted with the use of the hands on the body, giving life to the well-known techniques of massage, kinesitherapy, manipulative therapy with chiropractic techniques, functional re-education and medical gymnastics. Often, the various techniques are used together to ensure more satisfying results.
Moving in an area that requires precise knowledge, the profession of physiotherapist can only be exercised by graduated health professionals, physiotherapists in fact, who deal with everything related to the musculoskeletal system to restore the right balance and recovery after trauma. , managing physical pain and preventing future illness.
Back pain is one of the classic pathologies for which physiotherapy is used. It consists of a musculoskeletal disorder that also affects the neck and is often caused by repetitive strain injuries. Physiotherapy, in this case, is particularly effective.
Children under the age of 12 have a strong ability to recover in the event of an injury and physiotherapy is not always necessary for them, while it turns out to be so in adulthood, after an injury or even just for preventive purposes, considering that they often take wrong positions or you are subject to a sedentary lifestyle, both factors that lead to many ailments.