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.Meet our providers
WHAT IS A DOCTOR OF OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE (DO)?
If you’re like most people, you’ve been going to a physician ever since you were born and perhaps were not aware whether you were seeing a DO (osteopathic physician) or an MD (allopathic physician). The fact is that both DOs and MDs are fully qualified physicians licensed to practice medicine and prescribe medication in the United States.
Both DOs and MDs complete four years of medical school. After medical school, both DOs and MDs obtain graduate medical education through such programs as internships and residencies. This training typically lasts three to six years and prepares both DOs and MDs to practice a specialty. DOs and MDs can choose to practice in any specialty area of medicine such as pediatrics, family practice, physiatry or surgery. Together, DOs and MDs enhance the state of health care available in America.
Osteopathic physicians practice a “whole person” approach to medicine, with a focus on wellness. Instead of just treating specific symptoms or diseases, DOs regard your body as an integrated whole. DOs receive extra training in the musculoskeletal system; your body’s interconnected system of nerves, muscles and bones. This training provides osteopathic physicians with a better understanding of the ways that an illness or injury in one part of your body can affect another area.
Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) is incorporated into the training and practice of osteopathic physicians. Osteopathic manipulation attempts to improve joint range of motion and balance tissue and muscle mechanics in order to relieve pain. There are numerous manipulation techniques a doctor of osteopathy (DO) may use. By combining all other available medical options with OMT, DOs offer their patients the most comprehensive care available in medicine today.
WHAT IS A PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT?
A physician assistant (PA) is a medical professional who works as part of a team with a doctor. A PA is a graduate of an accredited PA educational program who is nationally certified and state-licensed to practice medicine under the supervision of a physician.
Physician assistants perform physical examinations, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret lab tests, perform procedures, assist in surgery, provide patient education and counseling and make rounds in hospitals and nursing homes. All 50 states and the District of Columbia allow PAs to practice and prescribe medications.
By design, physicians and their PAs work together as a team. This collaboration is an efficient way to provide high-quality medical care, offering better availability and access to appointments for our patients.