Physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians are dedicated to restoring physical function and movement for patients with injuries and chronic conditions primarily involving the musculoskeletal system and spine.
This branch of medical practice, also known as physiatry, focuses on the specific needs of each patient. Doctors who practice in the PM&R specialization design highly detailed treatment plans involving a wide variety of treatment modalities and therapies.
How Physiatry (PM&R) Works
Depending on your condition and your goals, your physiatrist or PM&R doctor will work in collaboration with an interdisciplinary team of medical professionals to ensure an integrated approach to your treatment.
This may include your primary care doctor, physical therapists, occupational therapists, radiologists and other specialists as needed or if appropriate. Because every patient’s treatment plan is different, their treatment team will be as well.
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Treatment Plans
Some of the most common conditions treated by PM&R doctors include sports injuries, arthritis, conditions of the spine, concussions and other musculoskeletal injuries.
Physiatrists design customized treatment plans based on each patient’s diagnosis and goals. Potential options for treatment range from conservative therapies to surgical interventions.
Many PM&R physicians also develop preventive treatment plans designed to help athletes, patients who do physical work and others who may be prone to injuries or chronic musculoskeletal conditions.
Is Physiatry Right for You?
A physiatrist may be the right physician for you if you want to optimize your physical functioning, overcome limitations, recover from a work or sports injury, or address a chronic musculoskeletal condition such as arthritis.
Your goals for treatment may be to reduce or eliminate pain, return to work, resume working out or playing sports, or improve athletic performance. For patients with a debilitating injury or disability, physiatrists can help improve functionality, independence, mobility and quality of life.