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Non-Operative Spine & Rehabilitation

Physical Medicine

Physical Medicine

What is Physiatry?

Physiatry, also known as Non-Operative Spine & Rehabilitation, is a medical specialty that specializes in the treatment, prevention, diagnosis, and rehabilitation of people with functional impairment due to injury, disorder, or disease. It is one of the latest subspecialties in the field of medicine that manages a wide variety of conditions involving the musculoskeletal system and nervous system, while also focusing on the patient’s independence, function, and quality of life.

What Does Physiatry Involve?

Physiatry imparts integrated and multidisciplinary care focused on recovery of the whole person by addressing the individual’s emotional, physical, vocational, medical, and social needs. Physiatry is special among other medical specialties in that its area of expertise is focused on the functioning of the whole patient, as compared with a focus on an organ system or systems.

What is a Physiatrist?

Physiatrists are doctors who have completed 4 years of medical school plus an additional 4 years of residency training in the field of Non-Operative Spine & Rehabilitation. They may be subspecialty certified in Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Brain Injury Medicine, Pain Medicine, Neuromuscular Medicine, Spinal Cord Injury Medicine, Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine, and/or Sports Medicine, and practice in a variety of clinical settings, including inpatient and outpatient facilities.

What Conditions do Physiatrists Treat?

Physiatrists are specifically qualified to:

  • Diagnose and treat pain or disability arising out of an illness, injury, or disease
  • Optimize patient care by leading a team of medical professionals such as occupational therapists, physical therapists, etc.
  • Work with other physicians such as neurologists, orthopedic surgeons, primary care physicians, and many others
  • Treat the whole person, not just the problem area

Based on the illness, injury, or disabling condition, some physiatrists may treat their patients using the following services/procedures:

  • Spine injections
  • EMG/Nerve Conduction Studies
  • Fluoroscopy-guided procedures
  • Ultrasound-guided procedures
  • Nerve stimulators, Ablations and Blocks procedures
  • Joint injections
  • Orthotics and Prosthetics
  • Nerve and Muscle Biopsy
  • Spasticity treatment
  • Disc decompression, kyphoplasty/vertebroplasty, and discogram
  • Impairment/disability assessment
  • Osteopathic Treatment/Manual Medicine
  • Alternative/Complementary Medicine, such as acupuncture, etc

When Should You Visit a Physiatrist?

You can consider visiting a physiatrist for management of:

  • Illness, injury or disease that is impairing mobility and function
  • Pre or postsurgical rehabilitation
  • Chronic pain from arthritis, back pain, or a repetitive stress injury
  • Problems related to nerve damage or recovery from stroke
  • Obesity with difficulty exercising along with other weight-related health problems
  • Diminished energy, lack of mobility, and issues related to menopause, childbirth, etc.


What is Rehabilitation?

Rehabilitation is a treatment method designed to facilitate recovery after a serious injury, illness or surgery. It is aimed at restoring the physical, sensory, intellectual, psychological and social function of the patient.

What does Rehabilitation aim at?

The goal of a rehabilitation program varies depending on the patient’s needs but is aimed at achieving a quick recovery. This program assists the patient to return to normal life through therapy or training.

The rehabilitation team works with the patient on various physical activities and flexibility exercises that help to regain the strength and motion of the muscles in the injured site.

What are the various Techniques used during Rehabilitation?

A rehabilitation program often includes stretching and bending exercises, massage, stability exercises, physiotherapy, heat therapy and much more. Various techniques employed in a rehabilitation program have significance of their own in improving physical performance and restoring the patient to normal activities.

  • Stretching and bending exercises improve flexibility of the muscles at the injured site.
  • Massage techniques relieve the tension of the muscles and improves the blood flow to the site of injury.
  • Stability exercises restore the functions and movements of broken or injured joints.
  • The use of appropriate devices correct biomechanical dysfunction such as specially designed running shoes are recommended for sports individuals with foot injury. These shoes have a harder material inside of the sole which prevents the foot from rolling in.

Practicing several measures may help you obtain better results from the rehabilitation program.

  • Exercise and walk regularly.
  • Gradually increase the time and intensity of exercises.
  • Choose correct footwear.
  • Do not work out on an empty stomach and drink plenty of water during your exercise.

Post-Operative Rehabilitation Recovery

Post-operative rehabilitation programs are recommended to strengthen the muscles at injured site, relieve pain, ensure mobility, and restore to normal functional capability. The common rehabilitation procedures include

  • Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation (RICE)
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen to reduce pain
  • Usage of crutches, braces, or heat retainer to prevent movement of injured site
  • Physiotherapy
  • Sports massages

In addition to the above-mentioned treatments your physiotherapist may instruct special exercises following surgery depending upon the type of injury and type of surgery.

Our Range of Rehab Services Include:

For more information on scheduling an appointment with one of our rehabilitation specialists, contact our Rehabilitation Therapy at or schedule an appointment online.

Non-Operative Spine & Rehabilitation Specialists
  • Unity
  • South bend Lions
  • University of Notre Dame
  • Saint Joseph Health System
  • Beacon Health System
  •  American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • The American Osteopathic Academy of Orthopedics
  • American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons
  • American Board of Medical Specialties
  • American Board of Medical Specialties
  • American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery
  • American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society
  • American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
  • North American Spine Society
  • American Society for Surgery of the Hand
  • American Academy of Physician Assistants
  • Zimmer Biomet
  • Stryker Corporation
  • Arthrex
  • Breg
  • Smith+Nephew
  • DePuy Synthes
  • The Indiana Orthopaedic Society
  • Notre Dame Orthopaedic Society
  • American Society for Surgery of the Hand
  • American Association for Hand Surgery
  • American Board of Plastic Surgery