When dealing with the aftermath of a serious illness, injury, or long-term debilitating condition, your day-to-day function changes. You wonder what can help you enjoy a good quality of life. Physical medicine, or physiatry, helps people live well with deficits through non-surgical treatments, therapies, education and in short, a whole-person supportive approach to care and rehabilitation. Here are facts you need to know about physical medicine.
How Physical Medicine Began
Physical medicine and rehabilitation is a specialty practiced by licensed medical doctors. Its history goes back to the time of the tuberculosis epidemic in the 1930s, and Dr. Frank Knusen took a particular interest in helping people recover lung function and physical strength they lost when they were sick.
Dr. Knusen worked with the philosophy that illness is not the center of medicine, but rather, the patient and his or her individual needs and goals are. The American Board of Medical Specialties decided to grant physical medicine status as a bonafide medical specialty in 1947.
As such, physical medicine has continued to evolve with that particular wisdom and treatment approach for health problems such as:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Nerve compression and impingement (carpal tunnel syndrome, for example)
- Chronic neck and low back pain
- Sports injury from contact or repetitive motion
- Post-operative pain
- Pelvic floor disorders, such as vaginal and urinary bladder prolapse
- Neurological conditions, as stroke, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis, or MS
- Workplace-related conditions, such as crush injuries
Modern physiatrists continue to think like old-time physical medicine pioneers: how can we assist this patient in putting their life back together?
Facts You Should Know About Physical Medicine
Physical Medicine Attempts to Avoid Complex Surgeries and Other Invasive Treatments
This philosophy steers clear of heavy pain medications, as well, unless absolutely necessary. Physiatrists typically coordinate care with other specialists such as physical therapists, neurologists, orthopedic doctors, and others in a team effort to improve a patient’s functionality and independence.
Physical Medicine Specialists Deliver the Latest in Diagnostic Assessments and Treatments
These include nerve conduction studies, electromyography, ultrasonography, and many more. Treatment plans are totally individualized and can include:
- Physical therapy
- Assistive devices and bracing
- Injection therapies for the spine, soft tissues, and joints
- Prosthetics, such as limb replacements after amputation or traumatic loss
- Orthotics and shoe inserts which offer customized solutions to injuries and biomechanical and disease-related problems of the lower extremities
Physical Medicine Specialists Support and Educate Patients and Their Families
When you work with a physical medicine team, you and your loved ones will learn how to adapt to your condition and how to change your day-to-day environment to foster safety, success, independence, and self-confidence. Physiatrists help people identify problems and abilities, maximizing functionality with activities of daily living, interaction with the community, nutritional and recreational needs and goals and more.
Physical Medicine Near Me in Specialist in Watertown, NY
At North Country Orthopaedics, our physical medicine and rehabilitation physician is Dr. Howard Huang. Board-certified in both physical medicine and pain medicine, Dr. Huang has helped scores of patients improve their quality of life and level of functionality.
Would you like to know more about how physical medicine could help you or a loved one? Then don’t hesitate to contact us to arrange an in-office visit with Dr. Huang. Bring your questions, and together, you will discuss the possibilities that physical medicine and rehabilitation has to offer.
Call today at (315) 782-1650 and get started on the path to true wellness. You can also request your appointment here. We look forward to seeing you very soon!