Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation


Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) is called Physiatry also, and involves restoring the functions for a person who is disabled due to disease, injury or disorder.

  • Physiatry provides an integrated multi-disciplinary care which is aimed at the recovery of the person by addressing physical, medical, emotional, vocational, as well as social needs.
  • A doctor who is a specialist in Physical medicine and Rehabilitation is known as a physiatrist who attends to adults and children
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

Why is it needed?

  • PM &R is needed to Help people achieve the highest level of Independence function and quality of life
  • PM & R does not undo a reverse damage caused by disease or by injury but helps to restore the person to optimal health well-being and functioning
  • Helps family and patient to adapt to the lifestyle changes and to cope with every as etc, of life including workplace role
  • Helps to avoid surgery by combining physical therapy as well as pain treatment

Medical problems treated by PM & R

Common medical conditions and disorders which are treated by physiatrists are:

  • Neck Pain
  • Back Pain
  • Strokes
  • Neuromuscular Disorders
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Sports Injuries
  • Carpal Tunnel
  • Herniated Disc
  • Pinched Nerve In The Back Or Neck
  • Sciatica
  • Brain Injuries
  • Work Injuries
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Amputees
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Cancer Rehabilitation
  • Pelvic Floor Disorders
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome

Difference between Physiatrists and Physical Therapists


  • They are doctors who have completed medical school and have done their training in the specialty field of PM & R
  • Physiatrists can diagnose, analyze, and design the treatment protocols as well as prescribe medications
  • They design the exercise programs which are tailored to individual needs of patients and prescribe the treatment regimen that are utilized by physical therapists

Physical Therapists

  • Physical therapist are not medical doctors and they cannot prescribe medications
  • They supervise an institute exercise programs which are aimed at relieving symptoms and improving function
  • Physical therapist conducts the treatment protocols which are prescribed by physiatrists or other physicians

When should you see a physiatrist?

You should visit a physiatrist if:

  • You have experienced an injury that causes a lot of pain or impedes physical functioning
  • You experience chronic back pain or neck pain or pain from repetitive stress injury or chronic pain from arthritis
  • You have a disability illness or have experience treatment for illness that has left you with pain and very limited physical functioning
  • You have experienced nerve damage or stroke which limits your physical functioning
  • You are recovering from some type of surgery
  • You are thinking about undergoing surgery as a means to reduce chronic pain

What are the areas covered in rehabilitation?

Rehabilitation programs and medicine are designed to meet the person’s specific needs. Some areas covered in the rehabilitation programs are:

  • Activities of daily living ADLS and self-care skills
  • Mobility skills
  • Physical care
  • Respiratory care
  • Cognitive skills
  • Communication skills
  • Socialization skills
  • Vocational training
  • Work-related skills
  • Pain Management
  • Psychological counseling

Treatments/procedures done by a physiatrist

  • Pain medications
  • Therapeutic exercise
  • EMG (electromyography)
  • Prosthetics/orthotics
  • NCS (nerve conduction studies)
  • Soft tissue injections
  • Spine injections
  • Musculoskeletal ultrasound
  • Interventional spinal therapeutics
  • Spasticity management
Physical examination

Pre Procedure Preparation

  • Physical examination
  • Diagnostic tests as prescribed by physiatrist
  • Get list of medicines if any
  • Inform surgeon about alcohol or smoking habits
  • Nutritional counselling
  • Medical tourists should select a hotel near the hospital/clinic

Post procedure care

  • Follow the Do’s, Don’ts, and Precautions advised by the doctor
  • Take physiatrist prescribed medicines
  • Do follow the diet regime prescribed
  • Continue the various coping strategies taught by physiatrist