Senior Citizen's Guide digital books
Senior Citizen's Guide

Why Visit a Rehabilitation Physician?

Rehabilitation physicians are nerve, muscle, and bone experts who treat injuries or illnesses that affect how you move. By taking the whole body into account, they are able to accurately pinpoint problems and enhance performance without surgery.

Consider seeing a rehabilitation physician if

Understanding and Identifying Your Goals
Do you want to strengthen an injured muscle, find relief from chronic pain, or walk up the stairs without being winded? A rehabilitation physician can work with you to determine realistic short- and long-term goals. Along the way, he or she will help you to find relief from pain, achieve successes in rehabilitation or exercise programs, overcome your setbacks, and reassess your goals if necessary.

What is the rehabilitation physician's role in treatment?
Once they have a diagnosis, rehabilitation physicians design a treatment plan that can be carried out by the patients themselves or with the help of the rehabilitation physician's medical team. This interdisciplinary medical team may include medical professionals such as neurologists, psychiatrists, orthopedic surgeons, and urologists, and non-physician health professionals such as physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, vocational counselors, psychologists and social workers. The team is different for each patient, and the team's composition changes during treatment to match the patient's shifting needs. By providing an appropriate treatment plan, rehabilitation physicians help patients stay as active as possible at any age.

What is the scope of the rehabilitation physician's practice?
PM&R is often called the quality of life profession because its aim is to enhance patient performance. The job of a rehabilitation physician is to treat any disability resulting from disease or injury involving any organ system. The focus is not on one part of the body, but instead on the development of a comprehensive program for putting the pieces of a person's life back together–medically, socially, emotionally, and vocationally – after injury or disease. Some rehabilitation physicians have broad-based practices that encompass many different types of patients. Others pursue special interests and focus on specific groups or problems.

What kind of training do rehabilitation physicians have?
To become a rehabilitation physician, individuals must graduate from medical school followed by four additional years of postdoctoral training in a physical medicine and rehabilitation residency. This includes one year developing fundamental clinical skills and three additional years of training in the full scope of the specialty. Many rehabilitation physicians choose to pursue additional advanced degrees (MS, PhD) or complete
To become board certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation, rehabilitation physicians are required to take both a written and oral examination administered by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (ABPMR).

How did the specialty develop?
The field of physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) began in the 1930s to address musculoskeletal and neurological problems, but broadened its scope considerably after World War II. As thousands of veterans came back to the United States with serious disabilities, the task of helping to restore them to productive lives became a new direction for the field. The Advisory Board of Medical Specialties granted PM&R its approval as a specialty of medicine in 1947.

Where do rehabilitation physicians practice?
Rehabilitation physicians 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, and many other special interests.

Home    Featured Programs    Choose Local Area     Request Information
A JR Media Publication • www.jrmediallc.comSite Index