Medical terms can sometimes be confusing. For example, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), also known as Rehabilitative Medicine, refers to the work done by a physiatrist, a physician who has specialized training in PM&R and focuses on preventing, diagnosing, treating, and rehabilitating neuromusculoskeletal disorders and the psychologic components that produce temporary or permanent functional impairment.
You may be treated by a physiatrist and not know it! They are medical doctors who have a college degree plus four years of residency training. While the name sounds similar, they are not physical therapists; physiatrists actually develop treatment plans and exercises regimens, and prescribe the rehabilitative therapies that physical therapists then carry out.
The goal of physical medicine in rehabilitation as provided by physiatry is to deliver patient-centered care that maximizes independence and mobility and enables the patient to return to normal activity. Here’s a little more about the role of the physiatrist in the rehabilitation process.
As a practitioner of Physical Medicine, the physiatrist manages a patient’s medical issues as they go through the rehabilitation process. The medical issues that are specific to rehabilitation may include:
· Pain management;
· Neurogenic bowel and bladder dysfunction;
· Spasticity (muscle tightness) management;
· Disease education; and
· Management of additional conditions (hypertension, coronary artery disease, diabetes, COPD, etc.) to prevent further medical complications.
Physiatrists are trained to manage a wide range of musculoskeletal disorders, but they often specialize in particular areas of focus such as:
· Neurorehabilitation of conditions such as spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, Lateral Sclerosis, and stroke;
· Medicine for chronic pain management, back pain, arthritis, Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, and other conditions;
· Musculoskeletal care for osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, or sacroiliac Joint dysfunction;
· Sports injuries, such as Achilles Tendonitis, Rotator Cuff Pathology, Stress Fractures, Concussions, etc.;
· Post-operative care following joint replacement;
· Pediatric functional and developmental disorders such as Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Spina Bifida, or Down Syndrome; and
· Specialized rehabilitation ranging from cancer or cardiac care to family training for home care to alternative and complementary medicine.
Diagnostics and Treatment
With advanced or fellowship training, a physiatrist may perform diagnostic and treatment procedures that include, but are not limited to, electromyography (EMG), nerve conduction studies, peripheral joint injections, trigger point injections, musculoskeletal ultrasound, interventional spinal therapeutics, or alternative treatment options such as acupuncture, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, and autologous stem cell treatments.
For more than 40 years, Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland has provided the highest standard of orthopedic care for patients of all ages in Catonsville, Columbia and Eldersburg as well as nearby in the Annapolis, Washington, DC and Montgomery County areas. As our board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic doctors employ sophisticated advances and specialties in the field of orthopedic medicine, such as arthroscopic surgery, minimally invasive procedures, joint replacement, sports medicine, onsite diagnostic imagery, outpatient surgery, and physical therapy rehabilitation for the full spectrum of joint, bone, muscle, back, and related pain conditions and injuries. Call Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland at (410) 644-1880 to find out what can be done to relieve your pain and get you back to doing what you enjoy the most.