Physiatrists treat acute and chronic pain and musculoskeletal disorders. They may see a person who lifts a heavy object at wok and experiences back pain, a basketball player who sprains an ankle and needs rehabilitation to play again, or an office worker who has carpal tunnel syndrome. Physiatrists’ patients include people with arthritis, tendonitis, any kind of back pain, and work or sports related injuries.
Physiatrists also treat serious disorders of the neurological and musculoskeletal systems that result in functional limitations. They would treat a baby with a birth defect, someone in a serious car accident, or an elderly person with arthritis. Physiatrists coordinate the long-term rehabilitation process for patients with spinal cord injuries, stroke or other neurological disorders, brain injuries, amputations, multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, and peripheral neuropathies.
Physiatrists 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, spinal cord injury, brain injury, or many other special interest.
Some of the information on the website has been reprinted with permission from American Academy of PM&R.