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What is a physiatrist?

We help you lead an active lifestyle.

At Spine & Sports Physiatrists, we specialize in the comprehensive diagnosis and treatment of the spine, joints, muscles, tendons and nerves.  Our goal is to restore active and healthy lifestyles as quickly as possible whether it be return to sports, return to work or just returning to normal daily activity. As many people have not heard of the term physiatrist, we commonly get asked "what is a physiatrist?"

Physiatrists are physicians who specialize in the field of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.  Formally organized in 1947, the specialty was initially charged to address the complex rehabilitation needs of severely injured soldiers returning from World War II.  Because of significant advances in medicine, soldiers that previously died on the battlefield were returning home alive, yet with severe physical injury and disability.

Physiatrists, also known as rehabilitation physicians, are nerve, muscle, bone and brain experts who treat injury and illness to decrease pain and restore bodily function. They treat both complex and simple physical problems by making accurate diagnoses, coordinating a customized plan of care, and considering healing of the whole person in all aspects including medically, emotionally, socially, and vocationally.

Physiatrists perform a comprehensive physical examination of the musculoskeletal system, interpretation of radiographic tests, and electrodiagnostic testing of muscle and nerve function. They devise comprehensive treatment plans using medications, prescribing and monitoring of individualized physical, occupational and other therapy programs, and delivering medication to injured structures by injection if necessary.

Physiatrists may also perform minor surgical procedures to alleviate pain.  Physiatrists coordinate multifaceted treatment plans to ensure cross-communication with patients, families, therapists, athletic trainers, case managers, and other physicians and surgeons.

Physiatrists try to help patients understand and take control of their condition by careful explanation of their medical problem, recommending preventative treatments including home exercise programs and guiding the transition back to normal activity.