Physical medicine and rehabilitation (also referred as Physiatry) is related to evaluation, treatment, and medical management and rehabilitation of individuals of all ages and both sexes with neuro-musculoskeletal disorders and associated conditions. The aim of physiatry is to increase and restore lost functional ability and quality of life of those who have been disabled as a result of disease, disorder, or injury.
It helps every individual maximize functional performance and achieve independence and community integration. Various health care specialists work in physical medicine and rehabilitation. A physician who is expert in physical medicine and rehabilitation can be called as a physiatrist. The Physiatrist work with multidisciplinary team including physical therapists, speech language pathologists, neuropsychologists, occupational therapists, dieticians, social workers, and rehabilitation nurses. Rehabilitation engineers, prosthetists, therapeutic recreation therapists, case coordinators, and orthotics are also important team members. The team works together to:
- Increase function
- Decrease pain and disability
- Maximize performance at work, school, office, during recreation and in all other areas of life.
Disorders treated by physical and rehabilitation physicians
- Cerebral palsy
- Multiple sclerosis
- Neck and back pain or injury
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Failed back surgeries/syndrome
- Head injuries
- Pinched nerves
- Diabetic/peripheral neuropathy
- Myofascial pain
- Stroke rehabilitation
- Shoulder pain
- Work-related injuries
- Spine pain
- Sports-related injuries
- Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
- Neurological disability such as stroke, spinal cord injury
- Other musculoskeletal disorders
Physiatrist treats disabilities and injuries by nonsurgical means such as:
- Therapeutic exercise
- Spinal stimulation
- Injection procedures
- Pharmaceutical pain control
Using a multidisciplinary approach, physiatry covers everything from cardiac rehabilitation to pain management. Physiatrists treat the whole patient, not just the symptoms. They help patients understand their condition by sharing their medical knowledge. A variety of treatment methods can be used to eliminate your symptoms. These health care specialists improve the life of millions of people every year.
Psychiatrists evaluate patients within hours of a major disease or injury; they have the satisfaction of coordinating not only their patient’s rehabilitative care but also over time, their community reintegration and back to work. After evaluating a patient’s medical history and obtaining physical examination findings, physiatrists are able to determine the extent of physical and cognitive deficits and also assess the functional implications of a patient’s impairment. Laboratory studies, radiographic imaging, and electrodiagnostic evaluations can be considered to assess the extent of the patient’s impairment.
Specialists in the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation are well trained in the assessment and prescription of prosthetic limbs or braces, as well as in the prescription of physical agents such as ice application, massage, superficial and deep heat, etc. Moreover, they are well trained to manage medical complications resulting from abnormalities such as autonomic hyperreflexia, spasticity, and neurogenic bladder. These experts in physical medicine and rehabilitation perform intravenous injections and peripheral nerve blockade in addition to nerve conduction studies and electromyography.