Physical medicine and rehabilitation is a specialized area of medicine that focuses on rehabilitation services for people who have permanent disabilities or are recovering from serious injuries. A doctor who performs diagnostic, preventative treatment in this area is called a physiatrist. In contrast to other types of doctors, physiatrist often cannot completely cure a patient, because the patient has permanent disabilities. However, a physiatrist can help them manage their condition, have more mobility, enjoy a greater quality of life, and often return to normal daily activities.
Although a physiatrist does not offer surgical services, he or she can draw from a variety of treatment options, such as medications or exercise programs. Often physical therapy is part of physical medicine and rehabilitation treatment. Patients with all types of conditions can be helped by a physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor.
When to Visit a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Doctor Near You
You should contact a physiatrist if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Back or neck pain
- Lasting pain after an accident
- Muscle spasms
- Muscle weakness that makes simple tasks difficult
- Pain after a disabling accident
- Pain post-surgery or after a complex medical procedure
- Pain that stops but then returns
- Pain that is always present
- Recurrent numbness or tingling
If any of these symptoms are familiar to you, you should make an appointment to see a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist. At Olympia Orthopaedic Associates, our physiatrists take a team approach in treating pain through medications, nonsurgical treatments such as injections, and physical therapy, and if needed, surgery.
Common orthopaedic conditions and injuries our physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists can diagnose and treat include:
- Bone fractures
- Cartilage damage
- Chronic pain
- Herniated or damaged discs
- Muscle strains or sprains
- Pinched nerve and nerve disorders
- Spinal cord injuries or conditions
If your pain is too severe and needs to be treated promptly for pain relief, our walk-in Rapid Orthopaedic Care clinic is available every day of the week, 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. No appointment is necessary.
Why choose the Spine Center at Olympia Orthopaedic Associates?
Choosing the right doctor is important, and there are many different factors you should consider, including their level of professional training and expertise.
At Olympia Orthopaedic Associates, our physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians have had additional training in a specific area of the body or medical specialty. This additional training is referred to as fellowship training. Following their medical residencies, our providers have undergone fellowship training focusing their education specifically on the advanced knowledge and skills needed to treat specific areas of the body or injuries, conditions, or surgery relating to a specific medical specialty, such as physiatry. At Olympia Orthopaedic Associates, you are in excellent hands because our experts are fellowship-trained and have the advanced knowledge and skills to treat your injury or condition individually to meet your needs. With this advanced training, our physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists, Dr. Zachary Abbott and Dr. Douglas W. Taylor, specialize in conservative alternatives for several injuries and conditions that typically require invasive treatment methods.
To consult with our Olympia Orthopaedic Associates specialists about your treatment options, please request an appointment online or call (360) 709-6230. At our Spine Center, we offer consultations with a Spine Center doctor Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
You can learn more about the conditions we treat through our patient education resources or our Online Guide to Sports Medicine that references specific topics relating to nutrition and fitness for athletes of all ages, including high school students, collegians, weekend warriors, and professional athletes.
Tips from Our Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Specialists
Staying active, being proactive, and building healthy habits are key to preventing, reducing, or avoiding future joint pain. Here are some techniques you can use to help protect your joints.
- Keep Your Joints Moving: Although overusing joints can sometimes cause damage that leads to pain—for instance, if you perform a high-impact activity like running or jumping—normal use and movement are good and important for your joint health. With that in mind, make sure to stretch and rotate your joints as well as walk and perform light exercise each day.
- Release Tension: If you are in pain, you might be tensing your muscles without even knowing it. This can lead to even more pain, in the form of muscle strain or tension. Several times each day, take a deep breath and be aware of where you are holding your tension, then breath out and release that tension.
- Maintain Good Posture: If you are experiencing pain, you may be realigning or using your body in unnatural ways, such as walking with a limp or leaning sideways when you sit. However, this is only a temporary solution and, in fact, can bring about pain and injury in other parts of your body. Always sit and stand properly to help avoid future pain.