Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Specialists in Northern Alabama

TOC’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Center physicians, known as Physiatrists, specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation. It is a specialty focused on prevention, diagnosis, and non-surgical treatment of many disorders. Physical medicine focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. Rehabilitation focuses on applying principles and techniques to make a person with a disability “maximally able”.

Physiatry is a team-oriented medical specialty that strives to promote a person’s quality of life and functional outcomes. It blends the traditional medical model (adding years to life) with the functional model (adding life to years). Physiatry is aptly named the “quality of life” medical specialty. The goal is to restore optimal patient function in all spheres of life. Physiatrists treat a broad range of medical disorders which include:

  • Amputations
  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Industrial injuries
  • Neuromuscular disease
  • Neuropathies
  • Orthopaedic injuries
  • Pain
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Trauma

Overall, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation covers a wide range of medical fields and disorders. Physiatrists must have a vast knowledge of these fields:

  • Orthopaedics
  • Neurology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Vascular (amputee)
  • Medicine
  • Occupational Medicine
  • Pain Management.

The primary role is restoring and maximizing function. There must also be a broad knowledge of musculoskeletal anatomy, kinesiology, and neuromuscular physiology. Physiatrists also have extensive backgrounds in the use of medications, selective injections, modalities, and therapeutic exercise. The team-oriented approach can lead to treatments at many settings that include a hospital, a rehab center, or a private practice. This usually causes coordination of rehab specialists, consisting of physical therapists, occupational therapists, rehabilitation nursing, safety directors, ergonomic specialists, company nurses, and case managers.

Diagnostic Tools

Diagnostic tools include most general medical tools, such as patient history and physical exam, radiology, laboratory, ultrasound, and nuclear medicine. There is also some specialized testing. This includes electromyography (EMG), nerve conduction studies (NCS), somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEP), and motor evoked potentials (MEP). There is a wide range of treatments. Some examples are:

  • Medications (NSAIDS, muscle relaxants, opiods)
  • Modalities (U/S, E-stim, TENS, heat, cold)
  • Assistive devices (walker, wheelchair, brace)
  • Physical and Occupational Therapy
  • Massage (therapeutic, neuromuscular)

Treatment Tools

Interventional procedures are commonly performed by physiatrists. These include:

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