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Physiatrist

What is physiatry?

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) is also called physiatry. This medical specialty deals with the evaluation and treatment of patients with a disease, disorder, or injury that impairs normal function.

What is a physiatrist?

The doctor who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation is called a physiatrist.

Physiatrists complete 4 years of medical school, plus an additional 4 years of residency training. Many physiatrists complete fellowship training in a specialty area. Afterward, doctors are eligible to take the tests (oral and written) of the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (ABPM&R) to become a board-certified physiatrist.

Physiatrists provide many medical services, but they do not perform surgery. Physiatrists treat various musculoskeletal (muscles and bones), cardiovascular (heart and blood vessels), pulmonary (lungs and breathing), and neurological (nervous system) disorders, including conditions such as arthritis, back pain, work- and sports-related injuries, and brain or spinal cord injuries.

Physiatrists may practice in a variety of settings, including the following:

  • Hospitals

  • Inpatient rehabilitation centers

  • Outpatient rehabilitation centers

  • Private practice

Physiatry provides for multidisciplinary care aimed at the recovery of the whole person by addressing his or her physical, emotional, vocational, and social needs.

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