8 Reasons Why You Need a Physiatrist (Rehabilitation Doctor)
Many of you may not even know what a physiatrist is or does.
Physiatrists (also known as physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians) specialize in non-surgical care for conditions – particularly neuromuscular (nerve, muscle, and bone) disorders – that cause pain and impair normal, everyday functions.
Following standard medical training, many physiatrists also pursue additional specialization in one or more of the following subspecialties: musculoskeletal rehabilitation, pediatrics, spinal cord injury, sports medicine, traumatic brain injury, and pain medicine.
Why Should You See a Physiatrist?
Having a physiatrist guide your musculoskeletal (spine and sports) pain care is akin to having a primary care physician who also specializes in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal conditions. Physiatrists not only have a keen understanding of how the body works and the medical issues at play, but also understand how these medical issues can affect a patient’s mobility, mood, and quality of life.
Consider seeing a PM&R physician if:
1. You had an accident or you have an injury or chronic condition that has left you with pain or limited function
2. You’re contemplating or recovering from surgery
3. You have an illness or treatment for an illness that has diminished your energy or ability to move easily
4. You’re recovering from the effects of a stroke or other problems related to nerve damage
5. You have chronic pain from arthritis, a repetitive stress injury, or back problems
6. Excess weight makes it difficult to exercise or has caused health problems
7. You think you’re too old to exercise
8. Life changes such as childbirth or menopause have created new challenges to your physical function
Understanding and identifying your goals
Do you want to strengthen an injured muscle, find relief from chronic pain, or walk up the stairs without being winded? A PM&R physician can work with you to determine realistic short- and long-term goals. Along the way, he or she will help you to find relief from pain, achieve successes in rehabilitation or exercise programs, overcome your setbacks, and reassess your goals if necessary.