(Partner article) You have probably already experienced the complexity of the healthcare system in the United States. Between the different health professionals and their names – M.D. (Doctor of Medicine), D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine), D.P.T. (Doctor of Physical Therapy), D.C. (Doctor of Chiropractic), etc. – it can sometimes be difficult to know who to consult, especially in the case of musculoskeletal problems.

Explanations of doctor Matthieu Laurent, French physiotherapist and osteopath settled in New York.

First of all, the American equivalent of the physiotherapist is the Physical Therapist (P.T.). The United States, France and some of its neighboring countries are the only countries in the world to use different terms to designate the profession that is more broadly designated by the term physiotherapist.

In the United States, most P.T.s are now Doctors (D.P.T). Indeed, the doctorate has been in place since 2015, reflecting American innovation as well as the increase in scientific knowledge and responsibilities of the profession. The practice based on scientific evidence, widely promoted in the United States, encourages the practitioner to base his clinical decision both on his expertise (clinical judgment and experience), taking into account the best level of evidence in the literature scientific as well as patient expectations and preferences. Scientific research results strongly and increasingly encouraging active patient involvement in the treatment of musculoskeletal problems, the American approach is therefore generally more active and passive therapies are less present than in France. However, it is difficult to generalize because the practices obviously depend on each practice and practitioner. Another divergence, for the benefit of patients, is the strong trend towards clinician specialization, probably due to the strong competition between different professionals.

Patient care is another notable difference between France and the United States. For example, in New York State and unlike France, it is possible to consult directly a physical therapist without medical prescription. However, in the event of cover, the patient's health insurance may still require pre-authorization and / or a prescription for the reimbursement of costs. In the latter case, it may be necessary to consult a doctor beforehand, M.D. or D.O. Note that nurse practitioners, podiatrists, dentists and midwives are also authorized to prescribe physical therapy. Contacting your insurance is the best way to check the prerequisites for reimbursement of care.

The organization of care is also different in the United States. The services of physical therapy and medicine are generally highly regulated and organized. There are even health professions that cannot be found in France, such as P.T.A. (Physical Therapist Assistant) in some offices. Even if access to care is generally faster than in France, the administrative aspect is unfortunately often heavy, both for the patient and the practitioner. This can impact relationships and dehumanize services.

Unlike the physiotherapy profession, osteopathy is not recognized as a health profession in France. Not being framed by a state diploma, there is no equivalent of the French osteopath diploma in the United States. The concept of osteopathy was created in the United States in the XIXe century. American osteopaths are physicians and hold a doctorate in osteopathic medicine (D.O.). In 2018, they represented only 9.1% of physicians in the United States. The basis of their training curriculum is the same as that of a medical doctor (M.D.), but they receive additional courses on the musculoskeletal system and manipulative techniques. The majority of DOs work in general medicine, although some pursue other specialties such as physical and rehabilitation medicine or emergency medicine. In practice, the differences in the management of an M.D. and a D.O. are so minimal that they are often overlooked by patients.

Finally, like physiotherapists in France whose area of ​​competence includes the manipulative techniques used by osteopaths, manipulations have always been part of the field of competence of physical therapists. D.P.T., D.C., M.D. and D.O. are therefore all trained and trained to use the manipulations within the framework of their respective licenses.

Whatever your symptoms and despite the differences between the two countries, do not hesitate to consult a health professional who will listen and support you in your recovery.

About the Dr. Matthieu Laurent, PT, DPT, DO (France)

Dr. Laurent is a French physiotherapist and osteopath based in New York. His clinic Change Physical Therapy is located in the heart of Manhattan.

Passionate about sports, his goal is not only to help his patients recover from their injuries but also to allow them to improve their performance in the long term.

Contact Dr. Matthieu Laurent

Telephone: (646) 979 0905
Clinic address: 302 5th Avenue, Suite 818
(NW Corner of 31st St. & 5th Ave.)
New York, NY 10001

Note: the “partner articles” are not articles of the editorial staff of French Morning. They are provided by or written to the order of an advertiser who determines their content.


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