What is PM&R?
Physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R), also referred to as physiatry, is a medical specialty concerned with diagnosis, evaluation and management of persons of all ages with physical and/or cognitive impairment and disability. This specialty involves diagnosis and treatment of patients with painful or functionally limiting conditions; the management of comorbidities and co-impairments; diagnostic and therapeutic injection procedures; electro diagnostic medicine; and prevention of complications of disability from secondary conditions.
Fortunately, many conditions can be treated non- surgically by a orthopedic spine specialist. Spine surgeons work with international pain management specialized anesthesiologists as well as physiatrists (the practitioners of physical medicine and rehabilitation) to reduce the expression of symptoms.
Oral medications, injectable medications, and lifestyle modifications are just a few of the non-surgical options to surgery. Many spine issues can be resolved with these conservative measures so the majority of spine issues start with these treatments as well as x-rays and MRI if warranted; some symptoms are more serious than others and may advance a patient beyond conservative treatment without trying them first. What is generally felt to be most appropriate and effective for patients with back pain is a good course of exercise and stretching. Restoring motion and strength to a painful lumbar spine can be very helpful at improving pain.
If symptoms specifically indicate a need for surgical intervention, or conservative treatments fail to provide enough relief than surgery may then be considered and will be discussed.