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What is a Physiatrist?

A physiatrist (fizz eye’ uh trist) is a medical doctor who is specialty trained in physical medicine and rehabilitation. This branch of medicine emphasizes the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disorders- particularly related to nerves, muscles and bones- that may produce temporary or permanent impairments. By using their knowledge of orthopedics and neurology, people experiencing musculoskeletal pain can be successfully treated.   Pain relief and return to function without surgical intervention are the primary goals and focus of the treatment process.

Rehabilitation specialists provide integrated care in the treatment of a wide range of patients including:

  • Spinal cord injury
  • Back and neck pain
  • Burns
  • Brain injury
  • Amputation
  • Stroke
  • Osteoporosis
  • Birth defects such as cerebral palsy
  • Joint replacement
  • Polio
  • ALS
  • Cardiac disorders
  • Pain from surgery or trauma
  • Chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia

Physiatrists take the time to accurately pinpoint the source of an ailment.  A treatment plan is determined that can be carried out by the patients themselves and/or with the help of the physiatry led medical team.  This medical team may include additional physician specialists and health professionals, such as physical therapists.  By providing an appropriate treatment plan, physiatrists help patients stay as active as possible at any age and improve quality of life. The physiatrist’s broad expertise allows successful treatment of disabling impairments, whether temporary or severe, throughout a person’s lifetime.

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