Which type of physician specializes primarily in physical rehabilitation?
'Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation' (PM&R) physicians, also known as physiatrists, treat a wide variety of medical conditions affecting the brain, spinal cord, nerves, bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons.
PM&R physicians are medical doctors who have completed training in the specialty of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), and may be subspecialty certified in Brain Injury Medicine, Hospice, Neuromuscular Medicine, Pain Medicine, Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine, Spinal Cord Injury Medicine, or Sports Medicine.
Physiatrists maximize what a patient can do and assist the patient in adapting to what he or she cannot. A physiatrist should be consulted when pain, weakness, or disability is preventing a patient from achieving their desired level of independence.
To maximize function, physiatrists use a variety of techniques including medication, injections, therapeutic exercise, prosthetics, cognitive therapy and adaptive devices to treat patients.
The goal of the physiatrist is to provide medical care to patients with pain, weakness, numbness, and loss of function so that they can maximize their physical, biological, psychological, social, and vocational potential. As people survive conditions that once would have been fatal, the field of physiatry is moving to the forefront of medicine. The specialty serves all age groups and treats problems that touch upon all major systems of the body.