Physical Therapy & Physiatry

Physical Therapy at Washington Township Medical Foundation

Many people ask: What is the difference between physiatry and physical therapy? This is an understandable question, as both medical professionals are responsible for treating patients who present similar sets of symptoms. The major difference is that physical therapists are not trained doctors who have attended medical school and finished a residency program. Physiatrists, on the other hand, are licensed physicians who have completed all the requisite training. Another name for physiatrist is physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) physician.

However, physical therapy may be used as part of a treatment plan created by a physiatrist in treating a patient with a musculoskeletal disorder. Additional, physical therapists may work under a physiatrist as part of a team providing care for a patient. The physiatrist does not perform the actual therapy, but rather diagnoses the condition and prescribes a course of treatment, to be followed by the physical therapists. PM&R physicians and physical therapists can work together in providing care for their patients. Our goal is to assist and support our patients with holistic, whole-body care.

Some conditions that may be benefitted by physical therapy include:

  • Spasticity management
  • Autonomic dysreflexia
  • Gait / movement ataxia
  • Pain management
  • Neurogenic bowel / bladder