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Author - Anastasia Belikov, PT, Cert. MDT
Graduated with her DPT in 2017

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Differences In Specialties


Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Orthopedics and neurology are two medical specialties that focus on different areas of the human body. Both involve diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases or conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system and nervous system, respectively. While there is some overlap between the two fields, they each have distinct characteristics.   The primary difference between orthopedics and neurology is their respective areas of focus.

Orthopedics is a branch of medicine focused on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases and conditions related to the musculoskeletal system. This includes bones, joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Orthopedic surgeons are medical doctors who specialize in treating orthopedic injuries or disorders using both surgical and non-surgical methods.  The most common orthopedic treatments involve repairing or replacing damaged tissues or bones with implants such as artificial joints or rods made from metal alloys. Other treatments include arthroscopic surgery for joint repair; spinal fusion for back pain; bone grafting for fractures; nerve decompression surgery to relieve pressure on nerves caused by herniated discs; tendon repair surgeries to

Neurology is a branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders related to the nervous system. This includes both diseases of the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) as well as those affecting peripheral nerves throughout the body. Neurologists are medical professionals who specialize in diagnosing and treating these conditions.  The human nervous system is incredibly complex and can be affected by many different types of disorders. Common neurological issues include stroke, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, traumatic brain injury (TBI), migraine headaches and more. Each condition has its own unique set of symptoms which require specialized care from a neurologist to diagnose correctly and develop an effective treatment plan for each patient.

Physical therapy is an important tool for treating orthopedic and neurological patients. Physical therapists use a variety of techniques to help these patients, including exercise, massage, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, heat and cold therapies. These treatments can reduce pain and improve mobility in both types of patient. 

When it comes to sports physical therapy vs orthopedic physical therapy, people often assume that the two terms are interchangeable. However, there is a distinct difference between sport physical therapy and orthopedic physical therapy. Both types of therapies involve helping individuals recover from injuries or disabilities, but they each have their own unique approaches to doing so.

Sport Physical Therapy focuses on restoring optimal athletic performance in athletes recovering from an injury or disability by using various treatments such as stretching exercises, strengthening exercises, manual manipulation techniques and modalities like ultrasound or electrical stimulation. It also involves education about proper warm-up and cool-down technique before and after workout sessions as well as advice regarding nutrition for peak performance. This type of physical therapy involves working with athletes to develop an individualized plan that will help them reach their goals while minimizing the risk for further injury. Sport Physical Therapists focus on improving strength, flexibility, coordination and balance through exercises tailored specifically to each athlete.  

Orthopedic Physical Therapy, on the other hand, is a form of physical therapy that focuses on treating musculoskeletal injuries and conditions. Orthopedic Physical Therapists use a variety of techniques to help patients recover from their injury or condition including joint mobilization, manual therapy, ultrasound and electrical stimulation. Treatment plans may also include education about proper body mechanics and posture as well as therapeutic exercise programs for strength and flexibility. The goal of orthopedic physical therapy is to reduce pain, improve mobility and restore function so that patients can return to their daily activities with minimal discomfort.

Differences In Specialties
MVMT Physical Therapy Mobility Class

Mobility and Flexibility Class

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