What Does Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Do?

The goal of physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) is to maximize a patient’s function and assist the patient in adapting to any impairment and limitations. A physical medicine specialist should be consulted when pain, weakness, or disability is preventing a patient from achieving their desired level of independence/impacting their quality of life.

  • PM&R can include a variety of environments such as inpatient, outpatient, and consulting roles. Treatment can be solo, in groups, hospitals, and academic settings.
  • It involves detailed evaluations including physical examination, Electrodiagnosis with EMG and assessing multimodal imaging studies to determine diagnoses.
  • In addition to management used in general medical practice, PM&R specialists can prescribe therapeutic exercise, prosthetics/orthotics, and adaptive devices to treat patients of all ages.
  • Specialists facilitate physiologic adaptation to disability to prevent complications or deterioration secondary to disabling conditions.
  • Treatment includes a wide range of interventions including manual therapy, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, injections, and acupuncture.
  • The goal is to provide medical care to patients with pain, weakness, numbness, and loss of function so that they can maximize their physical, psychological, social, and vocational potential.

As people survive conditions that once would have been fatal, the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation is moving to the forefront of medicine. The specialty serves all age groups and treats problems that touch upon all major systems of the body.

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