What Is Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation? 7 Facts You Need to Know

With the growing number of cases of neurological disorders which many attribute to the highly stressful lifestyle today, more and more people are learning about physical medicine and rehabilitation. For those who still don’t know what this is, it is the branch of medicine that emphasizes prevention, diagnosis and treatment of various disorders related to the nerves, muscles, bones, and brain that typically lead to temporary or permanent impairment. Most common patients seeking physical medicine and rehabilitation treatments are those with chronic pains and have compromised mobility such as Guillain-Barre, fibromyalgia, severe hyperthyroidism, Multiple Sclerosis, stroke, and physical injuries due to accidents, to cite a few.

To further bring enlightenment about this branch of medicine, listed below are seven other facts about it.

  1. It’s also called physiatry, and so medical doctors that specialize in this particular discipline are called physiatrists, as well as rehabilitation physicians.
  2. Physiatry or physical medicine and rehabilitation treats injuries, conditions or illnesses that affect how a body moves. Its goal is to improve or enhance performance so patients can regain strength andindependent movement, manage their own pains, and learn methodsto use helpful equipment (such as crutches, prosthetic body parts, etc.) so they can perform tasks safely even with their current physical limitations.
  3. Physiatrists assist in treating any disability that is a result of a disease or injury involving any organ.
  4. Rehabilitation goes beyond the physical; it also addresses the social and emotional healing of the patient. And if a patient will be returning to work, rehabilitation will also include skills development or restoration so he can assume his old position despite his temporary or permanent disability.
  5. Physical medicine and rehabilitation also makes sure that injuries will be prevented from happening again in the future. Physiatrists teach patients important movement strategies and recommend protective or support gear for vulnerable parts of the body. This is particularly helpful to athletes who are constantly exposed to the same physical threats and are likely to injure the same parts of the body due to the common range of movements of the sport they play.
  6. There are six formal sub-specializations under the physical medicine and rehabilitation discipline which are recognized in the US: Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Neuromuscular Medicine, Pain Medicine, Pediatric Rehabilitation, Spinal Cord Injury Medicine, and Sports Medicine.
  7. For every patient, physiatrists work with other medical professionals for complete rehabilitation. Since it addresses more than the physical impact of the disability, a team has to be established to effectively treat patients’ unique needs.