Often, people who have been injured suffer from musculoskeletal or spinal impairments, and they seek treatment from an orthopedist. That makes a lot of sense, but if it is determined that surgery is either not necessary or not the chosen option, seeking the treatment of a physiatrist would be the next logical step.
A physiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in musculoskeletal pathology. For chronic pain conditions where surgery is not recommended or where the patient seeks a more conservative treatment plan, a physiatrist will examine you, diagnose your impairment, and create a treatment plan. Physiatrists typically work in conjunction with physical therapists who actually perform the prescribed therapies, and they consult with one another to make changes to the plan, and monitor the your progress.
A physiatrist also will assess any other medical issues that could have an impact on the type of therapies prescribed or that might prevent some therapies from being a part of the treatment plan. Knowing your full health profile will help your physiatrist to formulate a treatment regimen specifically for you; one designed to alleviate your physical discomfort while not aggravating any other condition you may have.
In addition to physical therapy, a physiatrist will create and oversee your occupational therapy which will assist you in enabling you to live your everyday life such as taking care of your own basic needs, returning to work, and enjoying leisure time. The physiatrist also will oversee your prescription medications.
When people become injured, they fear hearing that they might need a surgical procedure to correct their impairments. However, that is not always the case. In fact, sometimes less invasive treatment can correct the problem. A consultation with your doctors can assist you in making that determination.