What is Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation?

Physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R), also called physiatry, specializes in the nonsurgical treatment of pain related to your:

  • Soft tissues – muscles, ligaments and tendons
  • Nerves
  • Bones


Role of the Physiatrist

PM&R physicians are called physiatrists. They’re board-certified medical doctors who:

  • Manage nonsurgical treatment of musculoskeletal and neurological pain
  • Prescribe assistive and adaptive equipment
  • Prescribe pain-control medications
  • Conduct electrodiagnostic tests
  • Ensure that you are medically stable to participate in various therapies
  • Manage co-morbid conditions during your PM&R therapy such as:
    • Hypertension
    • Diabetes
    • COPD

Physiatrists provide nonsurgical medical care to patients with:

  • Pain
  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Loss of function

The primary role of a physiatrist at Scott & White Healthcare is to restore function so that you can increase or improve your:

  • Physical activity
  • Self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Social life
  • Vocational function

Physiatrists don’t necessarily provide actual hands-on manual therapy. Instead, they work closely with other members of your medical team:

Evaluation & Assessment

Your physiatrist will conduct a series of tests to evaluate your:

  • Biomechanics
  • Neuromotor control
  • Proprioception – sense of position/spatial orientation
  • Strength
  • Balance
  • Nerve function
  • Psychosocial history

Personalized Care Plan

Based on the assessment, your physiatrist will determine:

  • Which diagnostic procedures are needed
  • Which therapeutic interventions will be helpful

Your physiatrist will then create a personalized care plan that meets your individual needs and treats the whole you in a holistic approach. Your physiatrist will relay your care plan to the other members of your care team.

As you progress through therapy, your physiatrist will regularly re-evaluate your care plan.

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