Rehabilitation services: Physical medicineSkip section navigation
Physical medicine and rehabilitation
Doctors who specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation, technically known as physiatrists, have advanced training in diagnosing and treating problems that affect the muscles, bones and joints, as well as the nervous system.
They help patients recover from a variety of conditions including stroke, sports injuries, low back pain, spinal cord injury, and cancer.
Physiatrists take a holistic approach, looking at the entire person, not just a problem area. They conduct physical exams, prescribe healing therapies, and develop treatment plans.
They often work as part of a team with other doctors and care providers, and in some cases coordinate all your medical care during recovery.
Physiatrists prescribe medications, assistive devices, physical, occupational or speech therapy, therapeutic exercise, biofeedback, electrotherapies, massage, heat and cold therapy, therapeutic injections and more.
While physiatrists treat problems affecting any part of the body, their main goal is to improve your quality of life. They work with you and your loved ones to restore your body -- and your lives -- as much as possible.
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Source: Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute
Reviewed by: Karl J. Sandin, MD, MPH, medical director, Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute
First Published: 06/01/2010
Last Reviewed: 05/01/2010