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A Rehabilitation Physician, otherwise known as a Physiatrist, treats injuries and illnesses that affect the way people move, including strokes, arthritis, obesity, amputation, carpal tunnel syndrome, musculoskeletal pain syndrome, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and sports-related injuries.
Remember those kids in school who broke their arm? Not only did they get a cool neon-colored cast for all their friends to sign, but they also got a free pass to skip homework, baths, and gym class.
Although they may have seemed lucky at the time, imagine that their injuries were permanent, or that they’d injured something more serious, like their brain or spine. “Lucky” would be the last word you’d use to describe them, as serious injuries cause more than a temporary inconvenience. Instead, they cause long-term pain and debilitation that demand the attention of a Rehabilitation Physician.
As a Rehabilitation Physician, you’re an expert in nerves, muscles, and bones. Your goal is to restore normal motor functions in patients who suffer from a permanent disease, injury, or disorder. To achieve that, you collaborate with other Doctors — for instance, Orthopedic Surgeons, Neurologists, and Physical Therapists — to develop and implement effective treatment plans that typically include a combination of medicine, physical exercise, stretching, massage, and orthotics, such as splints or braces.
Of course, before you can treat conditions, you must diagnose them. To do that, you use traditional methods such as medical histories, physical examinations, and imaging studies, as well as special “electrodiagnostic” techniques unique to the Physiatrist.
You know the phrase “no pain, no gain”? Your job is the opposite: You maximize gain and minimize pain!