A physiatrist is a physician specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R). Physiatrists are specialists trained in diagnosis and treating problems of the musculoskeletal and nervous system that may result in physical pain and functional limitations. In addition to medical training and conditions that affect bones, joints, brain and nervous system, physiatrists offer special expertise in rehabilitation.
They are qualified to treat conditions that require lifestyle management and coordinated care. Rehabilitation physicians treat people, not just symptoms. They take the time to understand their patient's ailments and the impact of a condition on the whole person - medically, socially, emotionally and vocationally.
Utilizing non surgical conservative methods, rehabilitation physicians prescribe, treat, monitor and coordinate rehabilitation needs of their patients. Physiatrists/rehabilitation physicians offer non surgical interventions in a variety of settings including rehabilitation centers, acute care hospitals, skilled nursing subacute facilities and private practices. If surgery is necessary, physiatrists work with patients and their surgeons beforehand and coordinate their care afterwards. They monitor and coordinate the services of the rehabilitation team (physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, nursing and social services) and communicate with referring primary physicians and specialists. Rehabilitation physicians focus on restoring function and improving the quality of life of their patients in helping them achieve their maximum potential.