A physiatrist, also known as a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician, may be the helpful to you if you suffer from acute or chronic muscle or skeletal pain.
Physiatry is a relatively new medical specialization involving the diagnosis, treatment and management of physical disabilities caused by injury or illness. Unlike other medical professionals with similar specialties that focus on a cure, however, a physiatrist is also focused on improving the patient’s quality of life.
Seeing an experienced physiatrist can help put you on the path to pain relief and improved mobility, and let you get back to enjoying an active life.
What Types of Treatment Does a Physiatrist Provide?
A physiatrist doesn’t perform surgery. Instead, treatment for acute and chronic pain is typically conservative and may involve one or more of the following protocols:
- Ultrasound-guided joint or spinal injections
- Nerve conduction studies
- Peripheral or spinal nerve block, stimulation or ablation procedures
- Prolotherapy, or regenerative injection therapy
- Physical muscle and joint manipulation
- Non-invasive spinal procedures
- Orthotics, such as braces or splints
- Electrotherapies, such as neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES), therapeutic ultrasound or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
- Physical therapy
- Acupuncture, biofeedback or other alternative therapies
What Conditions Does a Physiatrist Treat?
A skilled physiatrist can successfully manage many different chronic and acute injuries and conditions.
Physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians can help decrease pain and improve mobility in patients with both short- and long-term physical and cognitive disabilities and impairments.
An experienced physiatrist can provide:
- Musculoskeletal care, including treatment for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, lumbar disk disorders and sacroiliac joint dysfunction
Medical rehabilitation following joint replacement, fracture, stroke, spinal cord injury or cancer treatment as well as for prosthetics, fall prevention and age-related physical impairments
- Treatment for overuse and sports injuries, such as concussions, strains, sprains, ligament tears, sciatica and tendinitis
- Neuromuscular rehabilitation and management for fibromyalgia, degenerative joint disease, peripheral neuropathy and other painful conditions
How Can a Physiatrist Help You?
A physiatrist treats the patient as a whole, rather than focusing attention on one particular area or part of the body. The goal of treatment isn’t to cure the medical condition; rather, physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians work to alleviate pain and restore or improve mobility.
Patients who see a physiatrist can achieve a greater quality of life, as expert care enables them to function at the highest level possible, given their physical impairments.
In many cases, a physiatrist supervises and coordinates interdisciplinary care for patients. Medical specialists who may be involved include physical therapists, occupational therapists, orthotists, prosthetists, cardiologists, rheumatologists and neurologists.
For patients with chronic or acute pain due to injury or illness, a comprehensive approach to treatment can be the best way to achieve a successful outcome. To find out if physiatry is the key to managing your pain and improving your mobility, schedule a consultation with an experienced local physiatrist today.