If you have an injury or chronic condition that has affected your physical functionality, your primary care doctor may refer you to a physiatrist. Physiatrists specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation, or PM&R, and work with you to help increase your overall functionality. In this article, you’ll learn more about physical medicine and what it can do for you.
Physical Medicine Uses a Holistic Approach
While a physiatrist works to understand the reasons for a person’s disability due to injury or disease they also look at how the problem impacts the whole person–functionality, mental health, and social interactions, including family, work, and community. In other words, physical medicine is patient-centered and holistic. It is also collaborative since a physiatrist considers input from the patient, their loved ones, and other providers involved in the patient’s care.
Physical Medicine Offers Non-Surgical Treatments
As important as orthopedic surgery is, it cannot address every musculoskeletal problem. Instead, your physical medicine doctor will utilize non-surgical solutions like medicine, physical therapy, and rehabilitation programs to promote healing and reduce pain, and more. Their goal is to help you live as well and as independently as possible with a very real and impactful musculoskeletal diagnosis.
Physical Medicine Can TreatMany Health Conditions
Maybe you have had a stroke and have issues with cognition, speech, or mobility, or chronic neck or back pain is interfering with your ability to work or enjoy your family life.
Physical medicine doctors perform hands-on examinations to understand the underlying causes of a person’s disability or injury and then formulate care plans which address their specific needs and goals. Conditions physiatrists treat include:
- Advanced arthritis
- Sports injuries, including repetitive motion injuries
- Spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and stroke
- Congestive heart failure
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Nerve impingements, such as carpal tunnel syndrome
- Traumatic injury, including amputation
- Neuromuscular disorders, such as multiple sclerosis
- Genetic differences, such as Down’s syndrome and autism spectrum disorders
- Chronic pain in the back, neck, and other areas of the body
- Post-surgical pain
- Pain during and after cancer therapy
Physical Medicine Emphasizes Education
Physical medicine formulates the ways and means for independent function. Your physiatrist will provide you with the knowledge you need to feel empowered in your recovery. This may be something as simple as teaching someone how to use a cane, crutches, or a back brace. For others, it may focus on fall prevention and home safety, or teaching proper ergonomics in the workplace.
In all, your physical medicine doctor will aim to avoid complicated surgeries, make your post-operative period pain-free, and work with you to optimize your physical health and quality of life.
Physical Medicine Near You in Watertown, NY
Physical medicine and rehabilitation services are available at North Country Orthopaedic Group. Our on-staff physical medicine physician Dr. Howard Huang and his capable team will be happy to meet with you to discuss your health needs and goals.