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What is Physiatry

What does a Physiatrist do? (pronounced fizz ee at' trist or fizz eye' uh trist)

A physiatrist is a physician specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R). PM&R or physiatry is the branch of medicine emphasizing the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of disorders, particularly those of the neuromusculoskeletal, cardiovascular, and pulmonary systems, that may produce temporary or permanent impairment. Physiatry is unique among medical fields in that its area of expertise is the functioning of the whole patient, as compared with a focus on an organ system or systems.


Restoring Maximum Function

Physiatrists treat conditions of the bones, muscles, joints, brain, and nervous system, which can affect other systems of the body and limit a person's ability to function.   The PM&R physician is very skilled in performing musculoskeletal and neurologic examinations. Aside from the history and physical that are the foundation of any patient evaluation, the physiatrist is also trained to utilize laboratory investigations and imaging studies, particularly of the musculoskeletal and central nervous systems.



Click here to access view a PDF of the powerpoint slides "An Introduction to Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation," a presentation developed by the AAP and APEC. Please email if you would like a copy of the PowerPoint file.

Joel A. DeLisa, MD presented at the 2011 AAP Annual Meeting in Phoenix to the Resident/ Fellow Council. Click here to access his lecture "International Physiatry and Professional Organizations."

Devi E. Nampiaparampil, MD presented the keynote at the Resident/ Fellow Council at the 2012 AAP Annual Meeting in Las Vegas. Click here to access Dr. Devi's presentation "Furthering the Field of PM&R: Points to Consider."


Other Resources

AAP's Mission

Creating the future of academic physiatry through mentorship, leadership, and discovery.

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Association of Academic Physiatrists
10461 Mill Run Circle, Suite 730
Owings Mills, MD 21117
P. 410.654.1000 F. 410.654.1001

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