Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R)


Physiatry, also called physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R), is a medical specialty that primarily uses physical means to help in diagnosis, healing, and rehabilitation. Physiatrists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with chronic illness (e.g., stroke) or injury (e.g., spinal cord, brain), acute and chronic pain, and musculoskeletal injuries (e.g., sports-, work-related). Many physiatrists specialize in the treatment of back pain.

What is physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R)?

Physiatrists treat the whole person. They address the patient’s physical, emotional, and social needs during rehabilitation. Physiatrists direct the rehabilitation team that may include physical or occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, social workers, athletic trainers, and more.

PM&R doctors work in a variety of settings including clinics, hospitals, and rehabilitation centers.
How can PM&R help me?

PM&R can help patients with chronic disease, pain, or disabilities toward optimal function, thus improving recovery and quality of life. Physiatrists diagnose and treat problems of the musculoskeletal system, including back and neck pain, spinal cord injury, and other conditions.

With the use of physical agents and therapeutic exercise, rehabilitation can help patients in the following ways to:

reduce pain
improve quality of life for those with temporary or severe impairment
learn how to use assistive devices (e.g., braces, wheelchairs, etc.)

During rehabilitation, PM&R doctors care for patients facing physical impairment and the accompanying emotional challenges as well.
About your office visit

Physiatrists plan treatment based on a thorough evaluation of the patient’s medical history, and/or neurological reports, X-rays, and laboratory tests. They can use electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction tests to evaluate nerve and muscle function. PM&R treatment may include any combination of the following: medication, physical therapy, occupational therapy, massage, exercise, epidural steroid injections, and more.

In coordination with the rehabilitation team, the goal is to improve function in your daily activities. Your progress is carefully tracked until your symptoms have resolved or stabilized. In some cases, symptoms progress, indicating surgery may be needed. If so, your PM&R doctor will refer you to a Mayfield neurosurgeon for further evaluation.

What special training does a PM&R doctor have?

A PM&R doctor completes 4 years of medical school and at least 4 more years of residency training in this field. They are then board certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
Sources & links

If you have more questions, please contact the Mayfield Spine Institute at 800-325-7787 or 513-221-1100.
Mayfield services

We strive to manage patients as conservatively as possible. Nearly 80% of our spine patients are able to recover with nonsurgical treatment.

At Mayfield, patients who come to us with neck and back problems are given a rapid review of their medical condition within a few days ... not weeks. It's a treatment process called Priority Consult.

Mayfield has 6 physiatrists who specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation of the spine. They perform EMG testing of your muscles and nerves, physical therapy, and various spinal injections.

To make an appointment call 513-221-1100.
Marc P. Orlando MD
Sean Lynch PA-C