Problems to the support structure of the body are not just characterized by acute pain related to specific injuries, trauma or disease, but also ongoing limitations to the functionality and abilities of the body part, and ongoing pain. The symptoms can make it difficult for a patient to fulfill daily obligations of life, much less enjoy a high quality of life. Physical medicine and rehabilitation initiates therapy that is aimed at helping patients address the specific limitations related to their musculoskeletal problems so they regain functionality.
Restoring function to a patient who has been suffering from a musculoskeletal issue does not necessarily mean recovery from surgery or other traumatic events. Physiatrists (specialists in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation) also handle patients who have chronic neck and back pain, tendinitis, sports related injuries or other concerns. Regardless of the condition, doctors who specialize in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation can create treatment plans that are aimed at helping these patients overcome their pain and physical limitations, increase the strength and flexibility to the affected area, and either restore previous functionality or adapt to new forms of functionality in order to complete activities of daily life.
Treatment options that are included in physical medicine and rehabilitation vary depending on the specific injury, trauma, disease or other issue that is at hand. Physiatrists use a variety of methods including:
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Courses of medications
Each patient has an individual problem that may respond to a different strategy or strategies. The task of the musculoskeletal specialist is to find the optimal treatment plan to optimize patient outcomes in pain and function.