A physiatrist is a doctor who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation. These versatile health professionals treat many different conditions, depending on their particular specialty. Some of the most common conditions treated by physiatric physicians are neurological and muscular injuries and diseases; the very same often implicated in sourcing chronic back ache.
Unlike many other forms of modern doctoring, physical medicine practitioners often work hands-on with their patients, which distinguishes them from most other types of physicians. It is this personal involvement which may help to explain higher satisfaction ratings provided by treated patients than are enjoyed by many other medical specialties.
Some physiatric doctors work in a role very close to a physical therapist. They concentrate on the rehabilitation part of a patient’s condition. Other doctors are more involved in the actual diagnosis and treatment of the particular conditions affecting the patient.
Common specialties of physiatric medicine include: spinal injuries, stroke recovery, sports medicine, brain injuries, pain management and neuromuscular pain syndromes. Of course, it goes without saying that all patients should find a physical medicine provider who focuses on their specific condition or type of injury for optimal results.
A physiatric physician is a medical doctor who must complete the standard 4 years of internship and residency after medical school. 12 years is the average time to complete the entire educational process. Many doctors also train in focused programs specific to their chosen specialty. These sought-after internships and fellowships qualify doctors to act as specialists in their chosen fields of care.
Physical medicine is an ever-growing field that offers excellent vocational opportunities for caring and qualified practitioners worldwide.
Physiatric doctors concentrate on restoring usage and function whenever possible. If the patient displays a condition for which there is no cure or restorative possibility, the focus of treatment is on improving the quality of the patient’s life.
Doctors employ various methods of treatment including exercise, diet, occupational therapy, prescription drugs and counseling. Many physical medicine providers enjoy close professional relationships with surgeons, since rehabilitation is a crucial component of recovering from back surgery.
This particular type of doctor is most commonly employed by back pain patients. There can be great discrepancies in the results of the treatment, depending on the individual doctor’s specialty and methods, as well as the specific nature of the patient's diagnosis. Some rehabilitation doctors are incredibly skilled in restoring form and function to injured patients. However, I do not like one particular trend that has grown inside the realm of physical medicine.
Pain management specialists have created a new condition they call chronic pain syndrome. Pain is always a symptom, not a disease in itself. These doctors are little more than individual pharmacies, since their entire practice is devoted to symptomatic treatment using drugs and injections to ease the pain of their patients. While this treatment might be humanitarian for a small minority of truly incurable patients, it is criminal for the majority. Creating drug dependent junkies out of normal individuals is never justified. Treating the symptoms while ignoring the cause is never justified.
This pain-focused specialty is truly a group of doctors taking the easy and highly profitable way out. Rather than working tirelessly to solve the pain problem, they simply prescribe a pharmaceutical bandage for the condition.
Shame on you doctors.
This critique is not directed at pain specialists who use common sense in their treatment regimens. It is directed at those practitioners who choose to treat the pain rather than seeking out the true diagnosable and curable causative condition.