Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Rehabilitation Medicine, also known as Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), is a branch of medicine that helps people with difficulty to carry out day-to-day tasks or activities of daily living (ADLs). Doctors of this field are known as Rehabilitation Physicians or physiatrists. For physiatrists and their team, the patient's abilities and functional capacity is the foremost concern. Physiatrists care for people with musculoskeletal, neurological disorders, rheumatological (joint related), respiratory and cardiovascular system related illnesses. Doctors who specialise in this field are specially trained to direct multidisciplinary programmes for people with impairments that cause disability. They approach conditions with a comprehensive bio-psycho-social model that is patient-centric.
The rehabilitation team directed by physiatrists seeks to enhance functional independence of patients, reduce caregiver burden and attends to the wellbeing of the patient- caregiver unit/family as a whole. Common complaints that these highly specialised physicians see include muscle weakness (paralysis), muscle tightness (spasticity/rigidity), musculoskeletal pain/neuropathic pain, cognitive impairments, poor activity tolerance, breathlessness, etc.
Common conditions for which physiatrists direct medically supervised rehabilitation programmes are for stroke, brain and spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, neuropathies, Parkinson’s disease, chronic musculoskeletal back pain, arthritis, chronic wounds ( diabetic foot, pressure ulcer), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, ischemic heart disease, etc., among others.
The multidisciplinary team for inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation programmes consists of the Rehabilitation Physician/Physiatrist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, speech and language pathologist, orthotist/prosthetist, neuropsychologist and clinical social worker.
Rehabilitation Physicians also perform minimally invasive procedures for pain and spasticity such as neurolysis, intra-articular spinal injection procedures, surgeries for wound and contracture management. They are trained to deliver best clinical practices and incorporate evidence-based science and technology advancements to deliver comprehensive, cutting-edge and cost-effective rehabilitation.