Also known as a physiatrist, a physical medicine rehabilitation doctor is a physician who specializes in physically-based rehabilitation and recovery. There are roughly 60,000 physiatrists currently practicing in the US.
Once they have completed their boards in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), the physiatrists’ approach is to treat patients through rehabilitation techniques and exercises. Their focus is similar to that of orthopedics. Physiatry manages a wide range of conditions involving both nervous and musculoskeletal systems and concentrates on enhancing function and mobility and symptom reduction for each patient.
A lot of physiatrists have subspecialties, which means they are experts in subfields of medicine. Subspecialties include brain injury medicine, pediatric rehabilitation medicine, spinal cord injury medicine, and sports medicine.
The Approach of a Physiatrist
Physiatrists have a customized approach towards treating injuries, illnesses, and diseases using minimally-invasive techniques like corticosteroid injections, nerve blocks, facet joint, and trigger point injections as well as physical therapy with a large focus on rehabilitation and natural ways to repair and strengthen the body.
Physiatrists get to know each patient and come up with a customized treatment plan that is ideal for the patient. There are no one-size-fits-all treatments. Each patient’s needs and conditions are different, and treatment is based on these factors.
Physiatrists focus on providing you long-term relief from symptoms. Because of this, their treatments are multi-faceted and involve incorporating a variety of treatments for effective results.
Treatments Used by Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Doctors
Physiatrists study the musculoskeletal system, and their field focuses on proactive care. They diagnose and create a treatment plan for a patient’s rehabilitation because the goal is to restore function. They treat both acute and chronic conditions.
To treat patients, physiatrists perform physical exams and get to know each patient’s medical history and symptoms. Using this information, they prescribe medications, administer treatments, and focus on rehabilitating the patient and restoring adequate function.
Some of the treatment’s physiatrists perform are:
- Epidural steroid injections in the neck and back
- Nerve and muscle biopsies
- Prescription and guidance on prosthetics and orthotics
- Spasticity treatments
- Injections in joints
- Trigger point injections
- Nerve stimulators, nerve blocks, and nerve ablation procedures
- Radiofrequency neurotomy
Physiatrists Keep An Open Mind Towards Alternative and Complementary Techniques
Physiatrists also use integrative medicine techniques, such as physical therapy and focus on strengthening the body naturally and regaining lost range of motion and function. They also embrace the addition of complementary techniques such as acupuncture, yoga, tai chi, dry-needling, and electrostimulation to bring relief to patients.
Physiatrists in Maryland
The Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland has board-certified and fellowship-trained surgeons, physiatrists, podiatrists, physician assistants, and physical therapists who all work together to treat patients with all types of orthopedic issues.
If you have an orthopedic issue and want to see if a physiatrist can help bring you relief from pain and restore function, call (855) 4MD-BONE to make an appointment today. You can also request an appointment online.