Physical Medicine and Rehab / Pain Management
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Physical medicine and rehabilitation is a medical specialty dedicated to restoring optimal function to people with injuries. These physicians, called physiatrists (fizz ee a' trists or fizz eye'uh trists), can treat problems as common as a pinched nerve in the neck region or as serious as injuries from a diving accident. click here for more info.
An invasive procedure to treat and manage pain, typically through injection of an anesthetic, nerve block, spinal cord stimulation, implantation of a drug delivery system or a neurological procedure. click here for more info.
What is a Physiatrist?
Physiatrists, or rehabilitation physicians, are medical doctors who are:
- Experts at diagnosing and treating pain
- Restore maximum function lost through injury, illness or disabling conditions
- Treat the whole person, not just the problem area
- Lead a team of medical professionals
- Provide non-surgical treatments
- Explain your medical problems and treatment plan
- Work not only on treatment but also prevention
Rehabilitation physicians are nerve, muscle, and bone experts who treat injuries or illnesses that affect how you move. Rehabilitation physicians have completed training in the medical specialty physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R).
Rehabilitation physicians treat a wide range of problems from sore shoulders to spinal cord injuries. Their goal is to decrease pain and enhance performance without surgery. Rehabilitation physicians take the time needed to accurately pinpoint the source of an ailment. They then design a treatment plan that can be carried out by the patients themselves or with the help of the rehabilitation physician's medical team. This medical team might include other physicians and health professionals, such as neurologists, orthopedic surgeons, and physical therapists. By providing an appropriate treatment plan, rehabilitation physicians help patients stay as active as possible at any age. Their broad medical expertise allows them to treat disabling conditions throughout a person's lifetime.
What does a pain management specialist do?
A pain management specialist is a physician with special training in evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of all different types of pain. Pain is actually a wide spectrum of disorders including acute pain, chronic pain and cancer pain and sometimes a combination of these. Pain can also arise for many different reasons such as surgery, injury, nerve damage, and metabolic problems such as diabetes. Occasionally, pain can even be the problem all by itself, without any obvious cause at all.
As the field of medicine learns more about the complexities of pain, it has become more important to have physicians with specialized knowledge and skills to treat these conditions. An in-depth knowledge of the physiology of pain, the ability to evaluate patients with complicated pain problems, understanding of specialized tests for diagnosing painful conditions, appropriate prescribing of medications to varying pain problems, and skills to perform procedures (such as nerve blocks, spinal injections and other interventional techniques) are all part of what a pain management specialist uses to treat pain. In addition, the broad variety of treatments available to treat pain is growing rapidly and with increasing complexity. With an increasing number of new and complex drugs, techniques, and technologies becoming available every year for the treatment of pain, the pain management physician is uniquely trained to use this new knowledge safely and effectively to help his or her patients. Finally, the pain management specialist plays an important role in coordinating additional care such as physical therapy, psychological therapy, and rehabilitation programs in order to offer patients a comprehensive treatment plan with a multidisciplinary approach to the treatment of their pain.