The American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (www.aapmr.org)

The American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPMR) (www.aapmr.org) is an organization that is designed to support Physiatrists towards becoming licensed in their orthopedic specialty, as well as their ongoing education throughout their careers. In the United States, physiatrists are medical doctors are doctors who specialize in the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions using physical therapy and medications rather than orthopedic surgery.

Physiatrists: Physiatrists practice in the field of physiatry an orthopedic discipline that is also called physical medicine and rehabilitation. Physiatrists aren't the only doctors who prescribe medications and physical therapy in order to treat joint pain, arthritis, and back pain conditions. Neurosurgeons, Spine surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, spine doctors may also prescribe physical therapy in order to strengthen the muscles around joint that have become destabilized due to ligament laxity, inflammation around the joints, and degeneration to joint tissue and cartilage. Physiatrists are well trained in diagnosing the causes of spine conditions, along with other doctors such as radiologists and neurologists. After a thorough examination of the patient's medical history and radiographic images (X-Ray and MRI), the physiatrist will come up with a plan to improve the patients mobility and comfort levels without the need for invasive medical treatments such as orthopedic surgery or spine surgery.



When evaluating a patient for a rehabilitative program, physiatrists will examine the patients specific orthopedic condition and assess which soft tissues have been compromised by wear and tear, trauma, or injury. The physiatrist will consider all the structures and soft tissues that compose or support the injured joints, such as the tendons, ligaments, muscles, bones, and associated nerves and blood vessels. The physiatrist will asses the overall health of the joints, which structures have been injured, and how to rehabilitate the overall structures. Physiatrists may work directly with patients in their rehabilitative program, or refer them to physical therapists who runs patients through a physical therapy program that is custom crafted to meet your specific needs. The treatment program will either be administered by the physiatrist or operated by the physical therapist under a treatment protocol created by the physiatrist. Your treatment program will be a team event which will require your attendance and commitment to an ongoing program, as well as a training program that involves physical therapists and the Physiatrist. Physiatrists do not perform surgery.

Today, Physiatrists, as well as most doctors, are much more aggressive in the treatment of back conditions and joint diseases than they were in the past. In the relatively recent past, patients who experienced the symptoms of arthritis or back pain were told to go home and refrain from any type of physical exertion, until the point where the pain began to abate. While this may sound like a good principle, it often does not benefit the patient in general practice. Two reasons that inactivity may actually increase pain levels, rather than reduce them, is due to muscular de-conditioning and the inflexibility that occurs in joints due to a lack of exercise. While the ideal idea behind the treatment of joint conditions is to CURE the joint or degenerative spinal disc problem, doctors understand that this is usually not possible. Despite what you may read in the alternative health journals, degenerated discs and arthritic joints have a very limited capacity to heal themselves. There is relatively little we can do to make joint cartilage grow back once it is lost. But what we can do is to rebuild the strength around joints that have been de-stabilized to arthritis.

A physiatrist may be a medical doctor (MD) or Osteopath, or Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.). D.O.s and MDs may apply for application to be board members of The American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. The web address for the AAPMR is www.aapmr.org.