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Medical Exercise vs. Physical Therapy
Medical Exercise is the use of exercise to help individuals manage medical conditions after they have completed physical therapy or other rehabilitation programs. The physical therapist treats the patient’s functional limitations resulting from a disease, injury, or surgery. They use various treatment modalities, including manual therapy, electrical stimulation, and ultrasound in treating the patient.
The Medical Exercise Specialist (MES) does not diagnose or treat the individual. The MES uses strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular exercise to help the client address functional deficits that remain after the client has completed rehabilitation. The goal of Medical Exercise is to achieve positive functional outcomes while helping the client improve their long-term health, function, and wellbeing.
Medical Exercise vs. Personal Training
Personal Training provides clients with supervised exercise instruction to improve their fitness levels. Like the Medical Exercise Specialist, the Personal Trainer uses strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular exercise. Unlike Personal Training, however, the Medical Exercise Specialist has specialized knowledge and skills to address issues related to medical conditions, including musculoskeletal, neurologic, metabolic, and cardiovascular disorders.
Personal Training is appropriate for the general population who don’t present with significant underlying functional deficits related to medical conditions. Both practitioners can perform intakes and assessments. Both can provide lifestyle coaching. But the personal trainer may not have the advanced training required to recognize red flags and design exercise programs that are both safe and effective for the medically based client.
Medical Exercise vs. Corrective Exercise
Corrective exercise is the use of exercise to address muscular and postural imbalances. The corrective exercise professional can assess individuals to identify muscle imbalances that may be contributing to postural misalignments and issues related to function or pain.
Medical Exercise includes corrective exercise approaches. But the Medical Exercise Specialist understands postural and functional issues may not be limited to musculoskeletal causes. Instead, the MES can determine (through the diagnosis provided by the client’s doctor and their medical history) if the challenges are a result of muscular, organic, neurologic, or orthopedic factors. This gives the MES a more thorough understanding of how exercise can be applied to help clients address their functional deficits.
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