Rehabilitation is essential to ensure proper recovery after an illness and maximize a patient’s independence in doing tasks. Patient rehabilitation can be done with physical therapy and physical medicine.
Physical therapy aims to help patients regain their mobility and strength after an incident or surgery using hands-on, manual movements, such as exercise and stretches. On the other hand, physical medicine focuses more on the overall restoration and improvement of patients’ quality of life.
Here’s what you need to know about physical medicine.
What is Physical Medicine?
Physical medicine and rehabilitation, also known as physiatry, is non-surgical treatment that restores patients’ physical function. Those with disabilities from diseases or injuries are the most common patients of physiatry.
Physical medicine is a multi-faceted approach that combines physical therapy and other non-invasive interventions. It involves the diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation. It focuses on assessing all factors that contribute to the patients’ health.
Who Practices Physical Medicine?
Physical medicine doctors are called physiatrists. They are licensed medical professionals who trained in physical medicine and rehabilitation during their internship and residency program.
Physiatrists are licensed to diagnose, treat, and rehabilitate patients. They are experts in whole-body treatments for the musculoskeletal system and identifying causes of pain. They work together with the patient’s primary healthcare provider to create a specialized treatment plan to ensure the proper rehabilitation of the patient.
Physiatrists use conservative treatment plans to help their patients recover. These include medications, flexibility exercises, or the provision of adaptive tools.
In some cases, physiatrists oversee a patient’s recovery after undergoing surgery. This allows them to monitor the patient’s condition and ensure that they recover well, eliminating the risk for another surgery.
What Types of Treatments Fall Under Physical Medicine?
Different patients require different treatments depending on their condition. However, usually, physiatrists perform and prescribe the following diagnostic tests and treatments:
- Therapeutic exercises – to help with the restoration of the patients’ mobility.
- Prosthetics/orthotics – to support patients’ daily activities, easing them into doing their daily tasks.
- Pain medications – to manage and alleviate patients’ pain.
- EMG (electromyography) – to help identify if the patient has any neuromuscular abnormalities.
- NCS (nerve conduction studies) – to help identify the severity of the nerve damage, if there are any.
- Soft tissue injections – to manage problems of the soft tissues, such as tendons, ligaments, and bursas.
- Joint injections – a direct administration of medication in the joints to help with swelling and inflammation.
- Spine injections – administration of a strong medication in the epidural space of the spine to ease inflammation.
- Musculoskeletal ultrasound – an imaging process used to diagnose tears and other injuries of the muscles, joints, and other body parts.
- Interventional spinal therapeutics – pain management procedures that help alleviate back pain through steering needles in the soft tissues of the back.
- Spasticity management – could be done by doing stretches or wearing braces or splints, depending on the patient’s needs.
Common Conditions Managed by Physical Medicine
There are many common medical conditions managed by physical medicine. Physiatrists diagnose and treat a variety of patients with many types of health problems, such as:
- Neck and back pain
- Brain injuries
- Neuromuscular disorders
- Sports injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Carpal tunnel disease
- Herniated disc
- Work injuries
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Guillain-Barre syndrome
- Cancer rehabilitation
- Pelvic floor disorders
If you have any of these conditions, talk to a physiatrist. They will recommend an appropriate treatment plan for your condition and inform you of the risks and benefits of each treatment.
Physical Medicine Centers in Watertown, NY
If you’re looking for a place to get consulted on your holistic health, look no further than North Country Orthopedic Group. Our highly-trained, multi-disciplinary medical professionals are sure to provide you with excellent service—from diagnosis to treatment and rehabilitation.
If you have other questions about us and our services, please contact us at (315) 782-1650. You can also secure an appointment by using our online appointment request form. We look forward to serving you!