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Answers to some common questions that you may have about the physiatrist and its specialty
  • [A] Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) is the branch of medicine emphasizing the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disorders – particularly those of the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, and pulmonary systems – that may produce temporary or permanent impairment.


    Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is one of the 24 medical specialties certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties. PM&R provides integrated care in the treatment of all neurologic and musculoskeletal disabilities from traumatic brain injury to lower back pain. The specialty focuses on the restoration of function to people with problems ranging from simple physical mobility issues to those with complex cognitive involvement.


    PM&R began in earnest in the 1930s with the physical treatment of musculoskeletal and neurological conditions, and broadened its scope during World War II when thousands of veterans came home with catastrophic disabilities. The goal of restoring veterans to productive lives triggered expansion of the field into a specialty that deals with all functional aspects of people with disabilities. The Advisory Board of Medical Specialties granted PM&R its approval as a specialty of medicine in 1947.


    Today, physiatry is a diverse specialty. Physiatrists practice in major rehabilitation centers, in acute care hospitals, and in outpatient settings. Their approach to patients requires listening and observing, but also employs state-of-the-art technological support to assist in the healing process. In recent years, physiatry has seen an increased focus on musculoskeletal medicine and industrial medicine, pain management, sports medicine, and electromyography (EMG).

    copyrights AAAPM&R

  • [A] A physiatrist, (pronounced fizz ee at' trist or fizz eye' uh trist) is a physician specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation. Physiatrists are physicians who treat a wide range of problems from sore shoulders to spinal cord injuries. They see patients in all age groups and treat problems that touch upon all the major systems in the body. These specialists focus on restoring function to people.

    Physiatrists treat acute and chronic pain and musculoskeletal disorders. They may see a person who lifts a heavy object at work and experiences back pain, a basketball player who sprains an ankle and needs rehabilitation to play again, or a knitter who has carpal tunnel syndrome. Physiatrists' patients include people with arthritis, tendonitis, any kind of back pain, and work- or sports-related injuries.


    Physiatrists practice in rehabilitation centers, hospitals, and in private offices. They often have broad practices, but some concentrate on one area such as pediatrics, sports medicine, geriatric medicine, brain injury, or many other special interests.

    copyrights AAAPM&R

  • [A] To become a PM&R physician, individuals must successfully complete four years of graduate medical education (medical school) followed by four additional years of postdoctoral residency training. Residency training includes one year spent developing fundamental clinical skills and three additional years of training in the full scope of the specialty. There are currently 80 accredited residency programs in physical medicine and rehabilitation in the United States. Many physiatrists choose to pursue additional advanced degrees (MS, PhD) or complete fellowship training in a specific area of the specialty. Fellowships are available for specialized study in such areas as musculoskeletal rehabilitation, pediatrics, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and sports medicine.

  • [A] Physiatrists are specialists in diagnosing and treating problems of the musculoskeletal system. They perform thorough histories and physical examinations to find the source of your pain, injury or disability, even when standard diagnostic tests don't reveal specific problems.


    In addition, physiatrists direct your treatment team. If you need any other services, such as those of a physical therapist or athletic trainer, your physiatrist supervises, collaborates with and coordinates the other health care professionals. The result is a specially designed treatment program tailored for you.


    Because physiatrists offer an aggressive, non-surgical approach to pain and injury, these physicians are the ideal choice for the treatment of a wide variety of diseases and conditions. Here's a listing of just some of the conditions that physiatrists have extensive training in diagnosing and treating

      Low back pain
      Cervical pain
      Spinal cord lesions
      Head trauma
      Acute and chronic pain disorders
      Cerebro Vascular Infarcts and Neurological disorders
      Multiple Sclerosis
      Cardiac Disorders
      Musculoskeletal disorders
      Work related lesions


    Most importantly, physiatrists treat the whole patient, not just the patient's symptoms. Physiatrists share their medical knowledge to help patients understand their condition and provide the tools and resources to manage it. They employ a variety of treatment methods to reduce or eliminate your problems and to decrease the possibility of a recurrence. This comprehensive approach produces not only cost-effective results, but also a high degree of patient satisfaction.


    Through integrated focused care and comprehensive diagnosis and treatment, physiatrists add quality to the lives of millions of patients each year. The goal: getting you back into the game – not just back on the sidelines.

    copyrights AAAPM&R

  • [A] With the majority of health insurance, the answer is NO. You can see a physiatrist directly without having a prior referral. There are a very small number of health insurance plans and specific coverage that require the insurer to look for a referral. (ie. Mi Salud).

    In case of any doubts consults us when you make your appointment.

Copyrights: Centro de Rehabilitación y Electrodiagnóstico de Hato Rey, LLC 2013

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