Physical medicine and rehabilitation, or PM&R, is not a well-known specialty, but it packs a powerful punch for those who benefit from it.
What Is PM&R?
In the simplest terms, PM&R is a specialty in medicine that helps to restore functionality to people who are living with a disability due to a disease, a disorder, or an injury. A PM&R physician oversees multidisciplinary care avenues that address the patient’s physical, emotional, medical, vocational, and social needs.
A PM&R physician, or a physiatrist, addresses more than the pain associated with a disability. While doctors may prescribe medication to mask the pain, a PM&R doctor treats the whole person by collaborating with a variety of health care professionals to design a holistic program that includes physical therapy, stretching exercises, massage, and medicine for short-term relief.
Who Should See a PM&R Physician?
Anyone who wants treatment for conditions that affect the brain, spinal cord, nerves, bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons may benefit from PM&R support. Here are examples of when you should consider seeing a PM&R physician:
- An accident left you with limited function or pain.
- You are recovering from the effects of a stroke or other types of nerve damage.
- You experience chronic pain from a stress injury or arthritis, or you have back problems that continue for more than three months.
- An illness has diminished your ability to move easily.
How a Physiatrist Treats Your Condition
A physiatrist will tailor a plan to address the specific needs of your ailment. For example, if you have chronic neck pain, there are short-term and long-term options and medical procedures to help. For short-term pain relief, engage in massage and stretching—a doctor may also prescribe medication to lessen your discomfort. Your doctor could prescribe strengthening exercises to prevent future pain. If surgery is necessary, he or she will work with your surgeon before and after the procedure.
A PM&R physician determines realistic goals, finds relief for your pain, and works with you to achieve success in rehabilitation and exercise programs. Your physiatrist is there when you have setbacks and will reassess a new strategy, make changes, and create new goals so that you never feel alone in your quest for improvement.
Benefits of Rehabilitation
Disabilities are typically not curable but improving the lifestyle of someone with a disability is vital in maintaining their sense of well-being. Rehabilitation doesn’t reverse or undo the damage, but it does restore a person’s bodily functions in a positive direction. A patient will find that they improve in the following ways:
- Treatments help to prevent complications from the disability.
- Function improves, allowing for greater movement in the areas reduced by the disability.
- Tools allow the patient to adapt to their environment.
- Coaching the patient as well as the family helps them to adapt to changes in lifestyle and mentality.
If you can perform an activity after rehabilitation that was impossible before, the psychological impact is enormous. The mental effects of returning to work after a successful rehabilitation process can also be immensely encouraging.
By visiting us and seeing a PM&R physician, you will be on your way to functioning at your highest level. Contact us today to partner with a physiatrist for a treatment plan tailored specifically for you.