WHAT IS A PHYSIATRIST?
The doctor you are being referred to is a physiatrist (pronounced fizz ee at’rist). A physiatrist is a physician who specializes in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R). This requires an additional four years of residency training following medical school. As the US population ages, as people survive catastrophic injuries and conditions that once would have been fatal, and as quality of life continues to be an increasing concern, the specialty of physiatry is moving to the forefront of modern medicine.
Physiatrists are physicians who treat a wide range of problems from painful shoulders to spinal cord injuries. The primary focus of the physiatrist is to restore function. Physiatrists diagnose and treat both acute and chronic conditions that cause pain, weakness and numbness. Some examples include arthritis, back pain, work-, sports- and auto-related injuries, spinal cord injuries, strokes and amputations.
Physiatrists offer a broad spectrum of medical services. A physiatrist may treat patients directly or act as a consultant. They do not perform surgery. Physiatrists may prescribe drugs or assistive devices, such as braces or splints. They also utilize complementary therapies such as physical therapy, chiropractic treatment, acupuncture, traction, massage, biofeedback and therapeutic exercise.
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