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What is a Physiatrist? Where do I find one?

What is a Physiatrist?  Where do I find one?

It’s something you grow up taking for granted – mobility. You’ll remember how as a kid every day you’d jump out of bed and go about your day without giving it a second thought. As I watched my nine year old skip down the hallway to her room to get ready for her tumbling class, it made me think of days gone by, when I was as equally excited to go and kick a soccer ball with some of my mates.

As you age your mobility gradually declines, it’s a fact of life, but there are some things you can do to arrest the decline and, by extension, improve your health and your quality of life.

Making the decision to exercise regularly is the first step, the second step is to start, and despite what Nike would have you believe, sometimes there are issues that prevent you from just doing it.

That’s where you might think about visiting your local physiatrist.

It’s another uncommon word. Physiatrist. Depending on what part of the country you are in it could be pronounced fizz ee at’trist of fizz i’a trist

A physiatrist is a physician who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation often abbreviated to PM&R. A physiatrist practices physiatry a branch of medicine that focusses on the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of disorders that produce temporary or permanent functional impairment.

A physiatrist will look at how a patient’s whole body functions rather than just focusing on a particular organ system. Someone who suffers from an injury or is living with a chronic illness often has their ability to communicate and their role in the home or workplace compromised. Physiatry is patient-centered care to maximize independence and mobility with the objective of returning patients to their role in society.

A physiatrist treats injuries or illnesses that affect the way you move and as such are experts in nerve, muscle and bones and you should think about going to see one if your mobility has been affected. If you’re recovering from an accident, or suffering from an illness, nerve damage perhaps as the result of a stroke, chronic pain from arthritis, back pain or being overweight or thinking you are too old to exercise – a physiatrist can help you get started with a treatment plan to improve your mobility and your quality of life.

It’s unlikely that the physiatrist will have you doing a backward flip on the trampoline any time soon, but they will help you get mobile again.