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Summary: Physiatry the branch of science which deals with physical medicine and rehabilitation.
People with temporary and permanent disabilities should not think that they are doomed. There is actually a branch of medicine that is not only involved in the diagnosis and prevention of disabilities but is concerned of its treatment as well. Those who have musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, and pulmonary problems that led to different levels of impairment can seek refuge in physiatry. Also known as Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, physiatry emphasizes on the restoration of a patient's mobility functions.
A physician that specialized in the rehabilitation of people with movement disabilities is called a physiatrist. A society represented by more than 7,000 physiatrists is existent and is called the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. This organization aims to add quality to the lives of patients with temporary and even permanent disabilities.
Rehabilitation caters to a wide range of mobility problems. From a sprained ankle of a basketball player, to an old person's minor back pains, a physiatrist is the person responsible in giving proper care for these problems. Severe disabilities that require long term rehabilitation are also the focus of physiatry. Inborn defects that limit the mobility functions of a baby, and even a person's serious injuries in an accident are only some of the problems that need rehabilitation. The conditions of people resulting from strokes, spinal cord injuries, and other serious disorders would also require intensive treatment and rehabilitation for the restoration of normal body functions.
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation started around the 1930's as an answer to musculoskeletal and neurological disorders. War veterans who require treatment made this field of medicine thrive. Their need to go under rehabilitation so as to lead productive and healthy lives has made Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation earn the approval as a specialty of medicine.
A physiatrist does not only function as the one that is involved with the treatment of a patient. He may also be working together with other health care providers, or may act as a consultant. But regardless of the level of involvement, the physiatrist is driven by a single aim. It is to restore a patient's mobility functions as best he could.
Surgery is not a part of a physiatrist's medical services. Their direct treatment of the patient would mean making the right treatment program, carefully monitoring it according to the patient's needs. This treatment and rehabilitation program may also include prescription of drugs or devices like a brace or an artificial limb. Some patients may also require rehabilitation programs that would necessitate the aid of therapists to be able to achieve the highest level of functioning possible.
Rehabilitation does not mean that patients are going to be 100% what they were before their mobility problems. However, it is a good promise that there is still quality life after the disability.