Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), also known as physiatry, is a specialized branch of medicine that focuses on treating the function of the entire body, as opposed to the practice of treating a specific system. It is commonly referred to as patient-centered care. PM&R doctors, known as physiatrists, are rehabilitation physicians that completed training in the medical specialty of physical medicine and rehabilitation and are experts in nerves, muscles, and bones.
Physiatrists treat many different types of diseases and disorders such as chronic pain management, post-operative care, and specialist rehabilitation. The treatments they provide maximize their physical, social, psychological, and vocational potential by prescribing a variety of treatments. These can include sports physical therapy and sports medicine, therapeutic exercises, trigger point injections, and musculoskeletal ultrasounds, among many others.
Most physiatrists work with a team of professionals to ensure the patient returns to optimal overall health. Other team members may include a rehabilitation nurse, psychiatrist or psychologist, occupational therapist, orthopedic surgeon, physical therapist, and clinical social worker. The members of the rehabilitation team will depend on the type and extent of injury, patient’s needs, insurance coverage, and facility resources. It is important for the patient and his or her family to remain engaged in the treatment plan to keep communication among the team members open and to ensure a more efficient recovery.