What Treatments Do Physiatrists Provide?
Physiatrists do not perform surgery; instead they utilize non-surgical treatment methods such as pain medications and injections (such as epidural spinal injections and facet blocks). They also prescribe braces, artificial limbs, and other assistive devices and order diverse therapies such as hot/cold therapy, electrotherapies, massage, biofeedback, traction, and therapeutic exercise.
Physiatrists are most concerned with overall quality of life. To that end, they treat the whole patient, not just one part of the body. The ultimate goal is to return patients to their normal daily living activities or to the highest level they are capable of performing despite their impairments. Physiatrists often supervise and coordinate an interdisciplinary team of medical professionals to ensure that all of the patient's needs are met. Some of the other specialists a physiatrist may involve in a treatment plan include:
- Physical therapists
- Occupational therapists
- Speech and language pathologists
- Social workers
- Psychologists and psychiatrists
- Coordinate other medical specialties such as orthopedists, neurosurgeons, cardiologists, rheumatologists and neurologists
Consider the physiatrist as the architect of your health care needs when you have a problem with resultant impairments.
Physiatry: A Comprehensive Approach to Back Pain and Neck Pain
For patients with chronic pain due to illness or injury, a physiatrist's comprehensive approach to patient care may be the key to a successful outcome. There are more than 6,000 physiatrists practicing in the United States today. To find a physiatrist in your area, check out the Find a Physiatrist feature of SpineUniverse or contact your local hospital or state medical society.