Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

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What is a Physical Medicine  & Rehabilitation physician?

A Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R) physician, sometimes called a Physiatrist, specializes in decreasing pain and enhancing physical function that has been affected due to disorders of the musculoskeletal system and nerves.
You may have been referred to a PM&R specialist by your primary care physician, spine surgeon, orthopaedic surgeon or another specialist. Your PM&R physician will focus on non-operative treatments of various conditions such as:

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Spinal problems
  • Osteoarthritis and other joint problems
  • Tendonitis/Bursitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Muscle strains
  • Sports injuries
  • Spasticity management
  • Rehabilitation for post-stroke patients
  • Other health problems


What will happen at the appointment with my PM&R physician?

Your PM&R physician will carefully review your past medical history including surgeries, treatments and medications as well as your current physical function. In some cases, your physician may order additional diagnostic tests to accurately pinpoint the source of your condition. These may include:

  • Diagnostic injections
  • Imaging studies (x-ray, MRI)
  • Electomyography (EMG)
  • Nerve conduction studies

Based on this information, your PM&R physician will work with you to determine the best course of treatment to meet your needs. In some cases, this will involve referrals to physical or occupational therapy. In other cases, your PM&R physician will provide interventional treatments, either in the office or in an interventional pain management setting.