In the recent years, there’s been a dramatic evolution in healthcare, allowing patients to survive medical conditions that would have, at one time, been physically devastating. With a rapid influx of new information has come an uprising of new medical fields, one of the most prominent of these is the field of Physiatry.
Who Are Physiatrists?
Physiatrists are highly trained medical professionals who focus on whole body treatment for the musculoskeletal system and its disorders. The goal of a physiatrist is to bring patients back to full mobility and body function without surgery and with minimal use of narcotics. They are nerve, muscle, and bone experts, and their training covers a broad range, giving them a full understanding of the whole body and a detailed knowledge about how each system, organ, and tissue interacts.
Physiatrists may work alone, but they often act as consultants to physicians and act as a leader to a team of physical therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, care managers, and other medical professionals to implement a holistic plan for rehabilitation.
When Physiatrists lead a team, they first strive to identify the source of pain or dysfunction. Then, they design a treatment plan for rehabilitation. A treatment plan may be as simple as something that can be carried out by the patient alone, or as collaborative as a plan that requires the help of an extended rehabilitation team.
Physiatrists focus on functional wellness, meaning that they create a specially tailored plan to fit the exact needs of the patient. In order to do so, Physiatrists first take their patients through a detailed list of questions to help them fully understand the individual needs and limitations of the patient before designing a personalized plan for rehabilitation. For example, the needs of a professional athlete may involve restoring full use of an injured body part enough to compete at a high level without re-injury; whereas, the needs of an older adult may mean simply wanting to climb the stairs without pain. Depending on the needs of the individual patient, a physiatrist may do any or all of the following with a patient:
- Explain the importance and role of physical therapy in the treatment plan.
- Design a physical therapy regimen and instruct patients on proper implementation.
- Counsel patients on health and nutrition.
- Prescribe, educate, and advise on medications and therapies.
- Give injections to relieve pain and restore function.
- Refer or enlist the support of other medical professionals, including psychosocial professionals.
For a more detailed description of physiatrists and the overall role they play in the medical field, read our previous post, What Is A Physiatrist And What Conditions Can They Treat? Or contact us for more information.
What Is Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation?
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation refers to the group of physiatrists and their extended team that works with patients to bring them back to full mobility. There are many conditions that can affect your functional health such as stroke, muscular dystrophy, sensory disorders, speech disorders, chronic pain, limb amputation, arthritis, and spinal cord or brain injury. Physical medicine can help patients recover from these and other conditions that interrupt the body’s ability to function. By using physical methods as opposed to surgical methods, physiatrists are able to treat conditions through non-invasive methods to restore mobility and pain-free living. The department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation also includes sports medicine and injury prevention.
Physical Medicine And Rehabilitation At WWMG
The physiatrists at WWMG take care to spend quality time with patients, building relationships and treatment plans to best suit the needs of each individual patient. By taking extra care in the treatment design process, the physiatrists at WWMG are able to provide patients with individualized, quality care to keep patients mobile long-term.
Our Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation care is located in our Orthopedic, Sports, Spine & Hand Center at our Gateway Center in Everett. Our lead physiatrist is Dr. Catherine Yee, who is Board-Certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Dr. Yee works with patients with the goal of getting patients back to independence and the lifestyle they enjoy.