Physical medicine physicians are doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating patients with musculoskeletal (bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles), neurological, and other disorders that affect function and mobility.
Physical medicine physicians are also called physiatrists, and they can pinpoint the source of your pain and disability through various methods and treat them using an array of modalities. They are not to be confused with physical therapists, who are not medical doctors but rather trained specialists who execute a patient’s therapeutic rehabilitation plan.
How Do Physical Medicine Physicians Treat Patients?
To investigate your case, physiatrists will conduct a physical exam, assess your symptoms and lifestyle, and may use diagnostic testing, such as X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), electromyography, and nerve conduction study. After determining the cause of your symptoms, they may enlist and direct a team of experts, such as specialists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and more, to execute a step-by-step plan for treatment, all depending on the specific condition being treated.
To treat patients who are ill or injured, physiatrists employ non-surgical treatments and do not perform surgery. Examples of the various modalities that physiatrists may include in a patient’s treatment program are:
- Physical therapy
- Massage therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Orthotics and prosthetics such as braces, splints, and other medical aids such as canes and walkers
- Injection therapy, such as trigger point injections, facet joint injections, and epidural injections
So, do physiatrists prescribe medication? The answer is yes. These doctors can prescribe medications to help patients manage symptoms and treat underlying conditions. A physical medicine physician can prescribe medication for pain, nerve and muscle issues, and more.
The goal of physical medicine is to decrease pain, enhance function, increase independence, and delay or completely avoid the need for surgery. Their approach is somewhat different than other specialists, because they treat patients as a whole. They look at every aspect of your life and suggest changes if it could help improve your quality of life. They will monitor your progress and make changes to your treatment plan if they see you are not benefitting or moving on to the next stage of recovery.
When Do You Need to See a Physical Medicine Physician?
Physiatrists see patients suffering from a variety of conditions and injuries, such as neck and back pain, sports injuries such as sprains and strains, bursitis and tendonitis, work-related injuries, and degenerative conditions such as arthritis. They also see patients who are recovering from surgery and need substantial relief from symptoms.
Physical Medicine in Watertown, NY
North Country Orthopaedic Group provides superior physical medicine services to patients with pain symptoms due to injury, illness, or surgery. Our physiatrists provide compassionate and comprehensive care, with credentials you won’t find anywhere else in New York.
We have different orthopedic specialists on our team, which is ultimately advantageous for you, as our physical medicine doctors consult with orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine doctors, endocrinologists, and more to deliver exceptional, state-of-the-art treatments.
To schedule an appointment with a physiatrist from North Country Orthopaedic Group, call our office today at (315) 782-1650 or use our convenient appointment request form. We look forward to serving you.