A physiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in rehabilitation and physical medicine. These physicians have undergone additional training in the field of physical medicine & rehabilitation, also known as PM&R. This form of medicine focuses on nerve, muscle and bone injuries and illnesses.
What Does a Physiatrist Do?
Physiatrists focus on all aspects of rehabilitation after illness or trauma. However, instead of focusing on just the injury or illness, a physiatrist will treat the whole person. After diagnosing and treating your pain, they will work with you to restore as much function as possible that may have been lost due to injury or illness. Often times they lead a team of medical professionals who will help you get your life back on track during and after treatment.
A physiatrist will tend to focus on non-surgical treatment plans as well as preventative plans. As a rehabilitation physician, your physiatrist will take the time to pinpoint the injury or disease and work with you to design a treatment plan that can either be done solely by the patient or with the aid of the doctor’s medical team. Typically these teams consist of doctors with various specialties whose common goal is to help rehabilitate you with as little surgery as possible.
Who Should See a Physiatrist?
Anyone who has had a major trauma or illness that has affected their nerve, muscle, or bone tissue can benefit from seeing a physiatrist. This can include people who’ve been in an accident and are left with a condition that has reduced bodily function, as well as someone recovering from surgery or illness or even elderly patients who are having a hard time with mobility.
Your physician and their team will carefully access your situation and create a plan that will meet your needs. This may include exercise specifically tailored to your body, physical therapy, medication, and even surgery as a last resort.
They can help with other aspects of your life as you recover from your illness or disease as well. The physiatrist’s team will help you get your life back together socially, vocationally, and emotionally.