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Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Programs that are staffed by specialists who provide comprehensive diagnostic, treatment and management services for people who have a physical disability, either individually or as the leader of an interdisciplinary team. Physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists (also known as physiatrists) focus on restoring function using physical means rather than surgery. They prescribe medication, order assistive devices such as a brace or an artificial limb, recommend therapy (e.g., heat and cold, electrotherapies, trigger point injections, massage, biofeedback and traction) and set up exercise programs. Problems most commonly treated by physiatrists include acute and chronic pain, sports injuries (joint injuries, sprains and strains), injuries to the spine or spinal cord, neck injuries, tendonitis, pinched nerves, peripheral nerve injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, traumatic brain injury, paraplegia, quadriplegia, arthritis and neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis, polio and ALS. Physiatrists practice in rehabilitation centres, hospitals and private offices; and may have a broad practice or specialize in a particular area such as pediatrics, sports medicine, geriatric medicine or brain injury.

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The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.


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