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Physiatry

A physiatrist is a doctor with specialized training in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R). Geisinger’s physiatrists treat people who have injuries or conditions involving the musculoskeletal system or the nervous system, including the brain. Physiatry helps people regain function.

Physiatry aims to reduce chronic pain and increase mobility and strength. You may see a physiatrist after an injury, or if you have a disability or chronic illness. Physiatrists perform noninvasive and minimally invasive procedures, including injections. They also refer patients for other kinds of treatment, including therapy.

What you should know about physiatry:

  • Physiatrists are similar to primary care physicians, in that they assess and treat a variety of conditions and make frequent referrals for more specialized care. PM&R can help patients with functions such as walking and talking. A physiatrist also treats complex needs, such as rehabilitating injuries.
  • Physiatrists treat patients in the hospital, as well as at outpatient locations. They may:
    • Order imaging tests
    • Prescribe medication
    • Perform manual manipulation
    • Give pain-relieving injections
    • Prescribe exercises or braces
    • Refer for specialized therapy

Why choose Geisinger for physiatry?

  • Comprehensive, patient-centered approach: While we help you manage pain, our goal is to return you to work, to being independent or to doing what you love. We work closely with you to understand your specific goals, and then we create a treatment plan to help you achieve those goals. Treatment may include physical therapy, occupational therapy or speech therapy.
  • Ability to treat all ages: We treat people of all ages, including children. Where adults often need rehabilitation, children may need help reaching developmental milestones they have not yet achieved. We work with children as young as infants.
  • High patient satisfaction scores: Patients are often surprised to learn how much working with a physiatrist can change their lives. For example, people with chronic pain tend to rate their patient satisfaction very low. When Geisinger’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) program surveyed our chronic pain patients, they rated their satisfaction well into the 90th percentile. Physiatry gives patients access to a variety of disciplines and treatments that can lead to better outcomes. If you are a physician, learn about why you should refer a patient to a physiatrist.

Treats these conditions

Physiatry helps improve function for patients of all ages, including people dealing with conditions such as:

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