Physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians are nerve, muscle, and bone experts who treat injuries or illnesses that affect how you move and function. Also known as physiatrists and rehabilitation physicians, these doctors have completed training and are board certified in the medical specialty of physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R). They work to restore maximum function lost through injury, disease, illness or disabling conditions. The focus is on the development of a comprehensive program for putting the pieces of a person's life back together – without surgery and minimal use of narcotics.
Rehabilitation physicians strive to accurately pinpoint the source of an ailment. They then design a treatment plan that can be carried out by the patients themselves or with the help of the rehabilitation team which might include other physicians and health professionals. By providing an appropriate treatment plan, physical medicine physicians help patients stay as active as possible at any age.
Specifically, physical medicine physicians may be involved with:
- The diagnoses and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries and problems from a non-surgical approach. Physiatrists specialize in a wide variety of treatments for the musculoskeletal system - the muscles, bones and associated nerves, ligaments, tendons and other structures – and the musculoskeletal disorders that cause pain and/or difficulty with functioning. This may include such conditions as back and neck pain, including strains, bulging discs and pinched nerves; joint problems, such as tendonitis, bursitis, strains and sprains; and sports injuries.
- The coordination of care within a team of medical professionals such as physical therapists and specialty physicians to provide optimal and comprehensive care.
- Office consultations and follow up visits.
- Electrodiagnostic Testing- Helps indicate if there has been injury to the nerve. If a nerve is impaired or injured, it may cause weakness, pain or numbness. Nerve damage relating to pinched nerves in the neck or back, carpal tunnel, generalized nerve problems or certain primary diseases of muscle may be diagnosed by this testing
- Electromyography (EMG) -Measures the electrical activity of muscles at rest and during contraction.
- Nerve Conduction Studies (NCS)- Measures how well and how fast the nerves can send electrical signals.
- Injection therapy
- Shoulder, knee and hip injections
- Fluoroscopic guided epidural steroid injections for radicular pain (cervical, thoracic and lumbar areas)
- Fluoroscopic guided facet joint injections
- Radiofrequency ablations
- Trigger point injections
- Fluoroscopic guided diagnostic nerve blocks and lumbar discograms
- Chemodenervation (Botox) for pain relief.
- Coordination of care with the necessary rehabilitation team members and other treating medical providers