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What is Physiotherapy? What is Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Specialization?

What is Physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy (Physical Medicine); is used for the diagnosis and treatment of insufficiency and disability to a certain extent or functional insufficiencies of musculoskeletal system and nerve system by the use of physical agents and techniques such as heat, electrical flows, etc.

Who is Physiotherapist and What is Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Specialization?

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (FTR), or physiatry is a field of medicine which deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of problems which may result in permanent failures that may occur particularly in musculoskeletal, nerve, cardiovascular systems. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation are one of the major branches of medicine. Physical Medicine Specialist (Physiatrist) is a physician who has been educated in physical medicine and rehabilitation. In order to be a physiotherapist, the individual educates from 6 years of medicine faculty and then finalizes 5 years of specialty education of physical medicine and rehabilitation. This specialty education can be received from nearly all medicine faculties, public  hospitals.

FTR Diagnosis (Physiatric Diagnosis)

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation specialists, different from the other major branches, do not try to impair the damage or disorders occurred at tissue level and results in the emergence of the disease. Because they see that the basic problem is to remove the problem of disability (to rehabilitate) in performing the daily or desired works of the individual because of the disability occurred from major damage. The diagnosis resulting from the determination of these problems is physiatric diagnosis.


If it is explained by an example, it is provided to remove the backache of a patient resulting from acute herniated disc by rest and anti-oedema treatment. The problem to be rehabilitated is not the herniated disc as the diagnosis based on tissue damage.

After this kind of period, besides the unrecovered ache, the incapability of the individual to perform his/her work, to carry on his/her hobbies and sexual life, to feel tired and weak to perform his/her daily activities are also the problems to be rehabilitated. The reason of these problems and from which disability of the musculoskeletal system they are emerging vary between patients and can be diagnosed by a proper evaluation.

In order to reach this goal, a unique therapy program is prepared for each patient. In most of the patients, it is not possible to create a rehabilitation program only the initial neurologic, orthopedic or neurosurgical diagnosis without physiatric diagnosis. For that reason, despite the expectation of the patients sent to FTR specialist, in order to prepare a complete therapy program reevaluation and examination of the FTR specialist is required. Recently FTR emerges a multi-disciplinary branch. FTR specialists are working in inpatient rehabilitation centers, general hospitals and outpatient therapy centers. In recent years, in the FTR branch applications in Turkey, the studies are emphasized on ache treatment, sports medicine spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain damage, vascular brain events and electromyography. While medicine continues to be a more sophisticated occupation and the average life expectation is increasing, the goal of to be healthy includes a new subject: life quality. As the aim of FTR is to bring his/her optimal function to the patient, FTR branch can also be accepted as a life quality occupation. The duty of a physiatrist is to treat the failure regarding any organ or system resulting from any disease or injury.

The aim is not to concentrate in a specific organ or a body, but to put back the parts of the life of an individual – medical, social, sentimental and occupational. FTR specialists provide a wide and various range of medical services including severe injuries resulting from a number of traumas, prevention of injuries in sporters. However, the following are the basic interest fields of FTR: brain damage, burnt rehabilitation, heart-lung rehabilitation, old age rehabilitation, industrial rehabilitation, manual medicine, myofacial ache, ostheoporosis, ache rehabilitation, spinal cord damage, sports medicine, apoplexy and neurologic diseases rehabilitation. Physiatrist generally serve as the leader of an interdisciplinary team during treating the diseases with physical problems. This team may be composed of health professionals which are not physicians such as a neurologist, psychiatrist, sports coach, talking therapist, occupational consultant and psychologist.

The result of this study is the application of a treatment program which is designed specially for the patient. FTR specialists treat patients with wide range of diseases such as aching back or shoulder or damages of spinal cord. The patients of physiotherapists are generally patients with arthritis, tendonitis, acute or chronic aches, with injuries regarding sports or occupation.

Besides, severe musculoskeletal system problems which result in advanced function losses are also treated by physical medicine specialists. These cases include a wide range including babies with congenital movement disorders and old people who have movement difficulties.