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Physiatrist Education and Training

The specialty of physiatry (also known as physical medicine and rehabilitation) began in the 1930s and was recognized as a medical specialty in 1947. Physiatrists are medical doctors who, in addition to medical school, also complete 4 additional years of postdoctoral residency training.

During this residency training, they spend 1 year studying fundamental clinical skills and three 3 specifically on physical medicine and rehabilitation. They also receive a great deal of training in diagnosing and treating pain problems.

After residency, the physician must pass a written and oral exam in order to be a board certified physiatrist.

Some physiatrists continue their medical education even further by doing an internship in a subspecialty of physiatry. Subspecialties in this field include:

  • Musculoskeletal rehabilitation
  • Pediatrics
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Sports medicine
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Pain medicine
Updated on: 09/07/12
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