What is the Difference Between
Physical Therapy and Physiatry?

Physiotherapy, Physiatry – you’ve probably heard of both. But if you haven’t been in touch with either form of therapy yet, ask yourself: What’s the difference between therapy approaches? In this article you will get the answer to this question. You’ll also find detailed information on Physiatry and physical therapy and when each is used.

Physiatry and physical therapy

Both physiatry and physiotherapy are based on helping patients cope better with their daily lives. The biggest difference between Physiatry and physical therapy lies in goal setting. If you look at the meanings of the words ‘physio’ and ‘ergo’ the difference becomes clear. Both terms come from Greek. ‘Physio’ means of course, ‘ergo’ translates as work, work or action. Physiotherapy is therefore function-oriented. Exercise and other treatments aim to preserve or restore the body’s natural ability to function. Physiatry, on the other hand, is action-oriented. Its purpose is to restore the independence of patients after an accident or illness.

This is how Physiatry helps

Physiatry is as individual as its patients. It is used in various medical specialties.

  • Pediatrics
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry
  • Orthopedics
  • For the treatment of age-related disabilities

Physiatry treatment methods are accordingly diverse. Specially adapted exercises help the patient cope with everyday life as independently as possible. This allows him to participate in social life and lead a better quality of life.

Find your way back to everyday life with Physiatry

For example, a patient may no longer be able to fully move after an accident or illness. Daily movements must be relearned because the neurological connections in the brain are damaged. The goal of Physiatry therapy is to get the patient to look after himself again. This includes basic things like getting dressed and preparing meals. Therefore, the necessary movement sequences are applied in a targeted manner.

For example, if a patient has had a stroke, everyday things like making coffee may need to be relearned. The therapist then practices every action involved in making coffee in a practice kitchen with the person concerned. The plot is put together and relearned through many small steps.

Occupational therapy as a method in psychiatry and neurology

Physiatry focuses on psychological and cognitive problems in addition to physical limitations. This form of therapy can help with developmental disorders or dementia. Physiatry is also used in the treatment of depression. Those affected learn to reconnect with and express their emotions. In addition, social skills can be supported and cognitive abilities trained. People with depression and anxiety disorders can find themselves again and strengthen their connection with reality.

Use of physiotherapy

Physiotherapy, also known as physiotherapy for a long time, is mainly used in orthopedics. Physiotherapy and physiotherapy are not interchangeable terms. Physiotherapy is part of physiotherapy. The aspect of therapy encompasses more. In addition to classical physical exercises, there are also methods such as massage, electrotherapy, hydrotherapy (heat) and thermotherapy (cold-heat therapy). All these methods help the affected people to restore the functionality of the body after an accident or surgery. In addition, the patient should be as painless as possible.

An example: A patient broke his leg. A physiotherapist will accompany you during the recovery process after the surgery. Personalized physical exercises gradually increase the strength and endurance of the leg.

Physiotherapy and Physiatry go hand in hand

Bobath therapy is a treatment concept in which physiotherapy and Physiatry complement each other. In 1943, physiotherapist Bertha Bobath and her husband, Dr. It was developed by Karl Bobath, founded by Bobath therapy is specifically aimed at patients with nervous system damage. For example, it is used after stroke, in cases of paraplegia, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis.

To give patients more independence, balance and body awareness, Bobath therapy follows the 24-hour concept. Treatment is carried out daily. This way, those affected can learn without pressure and at their own pace. Physiotherapy and Physiatry work hand in hand. The physiotherapist helps the patient regain as much mobility and balance as possible. Physiatry patient learns to use this mobility. The body’s natural function is thus restored so that daily actions can be relearned.

If necessary, other therapists are also involved in the treatment. For example, from speech therapy and neuropsychology.