American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Physiatrists provide treatment of physical and cognitive impairments and disabilities, therapeutic exercise, pain and spasticity management, prostheses, and more.
A specialist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, also called a physiatrist, evaluates and treats patients with physical and/or cognitive impairments and disabilities that result from musculoskeletal conditions (such as neck or back pain, or sports or work injuries), neurological conditions (such as stroke, brain injury, or spinal cord injury), or other medical conditions. Physiatrists have expertise in therapeutic exercise, medications, and injections for management of pain and spasticity; electrodiagnosis; prostheses (artificial limbs); orthoses (braces); and other equipment to assist daily activities, and coordinate treatment to help patients improve their physical, psychological, social, and vocational function.
Contact the board to learn about specialty and subspecialty certification requirements.
Brain Injury Medicine
A physiatrist who specializes in Brain Injury Medicine focuses on the prevention, evaluation, treatment, and rehabilitation of individuals aged 15 or older with acquired brain injury. This specialist addresses a range of injury-related disorders that have psychosocial, educational, and vocational consequences, as well as related injuries of the central nervous system. He or she also works with an interdisciplinary team to facilitate recovery and improve patients’ health and function.
A physiatrist who specializes in Neuromuscular Medicine focuses on the evaluation and treatment of disorders of nerve, muscle, or neuromuscular junction, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), peripheral neuropathies (e.g., diabetic), various muscular dystrophies, congenital and acquired myopathies, inflammatory myopathies (e.g. , polymyositis) and neuromuscular transmission disorders (e.g., myasthenia gravis).
A physiatrist who specializes in Pain Medicine diagnoses and treats patients experiencing problems with acute, chronic, and/or cancer pain in both hospital and outpatient settings and coordinates patient care needs with other specialists.
Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine
A physiatrist who specializes in Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine diagnoses and manages congenital and childhood-onset impairments and disability, such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, acquired brain or spinal cord injury, amputation, sports injuries, and muscle and nerve diseases. This specialist works with an interdisciplinary team to improve a child’s mobility and daily function at home, in the community, and at school by prescribing equipment and therapies and managing medical conditions such as spasticity, pain, bladder or bowel dysfunction, and nutrition.
Spinal Cord Injury Medicine
A physiatrist who specializes in Spinal Cord Injury Medicine evaluates and manages patients with spinal cord injuries caused by trauma or from medical conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, Guillain Barrè syndrome, arthritis, infection, transverse myelitis, cancer, and spina bifida. This specialist works with an interdisciplinary team and prescribes equipment and therapies to enhance mobility and self-care skills; manage medical conditions such as pressure ulcers, pain, spasticity, bladder and bowel dysfunction, respiratory health, and mood disorders; and work to help patients return to their communities and vocations.
A physiatrist who specializes Sports Medicine focuses on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of injuries related to participation in sports and exercise. This specialist also treats illnesses and diseases that might have effects on health and physical performance.