header photo

What is Physical Medicine And Rehabilitation?

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, also known as PM&R or physiatry, is a specialty that treats a wide spectrum of disabling injuries and illnesses, primarily neurological and musculoskeletal disorders. Among the conditions that physiatrists handle are lower back and neck pain, upper extremity repetitive strain injuries, stroke, brain injury and spinal cord injury. Treatment of such conditions requires the understanding of several other specialties, including Rheumatology, Neurology, Orthopedics and Sports Medicine.

The major goal of physiatric treatment is to restore function and thereby improve quality of life, even if there is no definitive cure for the underlying condition. Physiatrists emphasize functional progress - such as improvement in movement or strength - as well as techniques to reduce the impact of pain and other disabling symptoms. When injuries affect patients' ability to work, Physiatrists strive to keep them working in a modified capacity, which often makes overall recovery easier.

Some of the many types of treatment to restore function include:

* Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy

* Diagnostic and Therapeutic Nerve Blocks

* Epidurals/Facet Blocks (Fluoroscopically)

* Trigger Point Injections

* Carpal Tunnel Injections

* Sympathetic Blocks


* Joint Injections

* Medications

* Referrals

Conditions Treated:

* Neck and Back Injuries

* Herniated Discs

* Spinal Stenosis

* Peripheral Neuropathy and Neuralgia

* Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

* Shoulder Injuries

* Arthritis

* Peripheral Joint Injuries

* Shingle Pain

* Sports/Occupational Medical Problems

* Amputee Care

* Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

* Acute & Chronic Musculoskeletal Syndrome

* Spinal Cord/Brain Injury

* Post Stroke Care

* Diabetic Neuropathy

* Non-Surgical Orthopedic

* Spasticity Evaluation and Treatment

The PM&R physician is also equipped to perform a type of neuromuscular testing known as electrodiagnosis (EMG), which is used to diagnose neuromuscular conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome or a pinched spinal nerve. EMG testing measures the electrical function of muscles and nerves, then correlates this information with other data such as anatomic images obtained through X-rays or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.

Recommended Web Links:

American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation