What is a Rehabilitation Physician?
A rehabilitation physician, sometimes known as a physiatrist, is a medical doctor with special expertise in treating illnesses and injuries of the nerves, muscles, and bones that affect movement.
The job of a rehabilitation physician is to treat any disability resulting from disease or injury, from sore shoulders to spinal cord injuries. The focus is on the development of a comprehensive program for putting the pieces of a person's life back together after injury or disease – without surgery.
A rehabilitation physician:
- Diagnoses and treats pain.
- Restores maximum function lost through injury, illness or disabling conditions.
- Treats the whole person, not just the problem area.
- Provides non-surgical treatments.
To become a rehabilitation physician, individuals must graduate from medical school followed by four additional years of postdoctoral training in a physical medicine and rehabilitation residency.
Who Should See a Rehabilitation Physician?
Consider seeing a rehabilitation physician if you:
- Had an accident or currently have an injury or chronic condition that has left you with pain or limited function.
- Are contemplating or recovering from surgery.
- Have an illness or are undergoing treatment for an illness that has diminished your energy or ability to move easily.
- Are recovering from the effects of a stroke or other problems related to nerve damage.
- Have chronic pain from arthritis, a repetitive stress injury, or back problems.
- Have excess weight that makes it difficult to exercise or has caused health problems.
- Think you’re too old to exercise.
- Have experienced life changes such as childbirth or menopause that are impeding your physical function.
Conditions We Treat
Our rehabilitation physician can diagnosis and treat a variety of conditions, including:
- Pain Disorders
- Chronic regional pain syndrome/Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
- Chest wall pain syndrome
- Postherpetic (shingles) pain
- Neuropathy pain
- Benign chronic pain syndrome
- Cancer pain
- Pain associated with medical diseases
- Post surgical chronic pain
- Post laminectomy syndrome
- Musculoskeletal Disorders
- Pediatric Problems
- Cerebral Palsy
- Brachial plexus injury
- Congenital limb deficiencies
- Congenital/acquired musculoskeletal disorders (e.g., scoliosis, torticollis, hip dysplasia)
- Congenital syndromes
- Neurogenerative disorders/Leukodystrophies
- Spina bifida/myelodysplasia
- Junior rheumatoid arthritis
- Neuromuscular disorders/Childhood myopathies - congenital or acquired
- Rheumatologic / Arthritic Disorders
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Pain in autoimmune disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Neurologic Disorders / Spinal Cord Injury
- Traumatic Brain Injury – mild to severe
- Postconcussion syndrome
- Hypoxic brain injury
- Stroke/Cerebrovascular accident
- Post operative brain injury (function)
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Central Nervous System
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Autoimmune (lupus)
- Infectious Encephelopathy
- Muscular dystrophy
- Myopathy associated with disease or medication
- Neuromuscular / ALS
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Myasthenia Gravis
- Peripheral Nervous System
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Bell’s palsy
- Peroneal drop foot
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Cubital tunnel syndrome