Rehabilitative Medicine

Rehabilitating patient

Also known as Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, or PM&R, rehabilitative medicine is a form of Physiatry. This is a specific type of medicine that focuses on holistic care and pain management. Rehabilitative medicine looks at the entire person, not only a certain ailment they are experiencing. Physiatrists take into account a person’s home life, medical history, psychological state, and physical mobility. They focus on returning a person to their highest functionality and quality of life. 

What Can Rehabilitative Medicine Treat?

Although rehabilitative medicine focuses on the whole patient, the focus of physiatry is generally the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system. There are many subspecialties within physiatry which handle and treat certain disabilities and disorders. Some doctors only work within these specific subspecialties. 

Sports Medicine Physiatry 

sports medicine

Within sports medicine PM&R, doctors will work together closely with athletic trainers, physical therapists, and nutritionists to help patients regain their ability for sports and fitness related needs. This could be for a patient who is injured while playing a sport who needs to regain and heal to be able to play again. These doctors can work with a patient before and after surgery, but generally do not perform the surgery themselves. 

Cancer Physiatry

Rehabilitation after cancer can be a long and difficult road to walk. Physicians who specialize in this type of care can specialize in a certain type of cancer recovery. Many patients find healing and regain functionality through holistic care after cancer. Orthopedic rehabilitative care is needed for many patients who experience bone cancers. 

Spinal Rehabilitation

This is another difficult path which may need long-term care and management through a physiatrist. Spinal cord injuries range from pain and small nerve damage up to paraplegia and quadriplegia. There are many new and groundbreaking treatments that have been helping patients recover from spinal cord injuries and regain much of their quality of life. 

Other Forms of Physiatry 

Rehabilitative medicine extends past much of the orthopedic focus to regenerative medicine, work rehabilitation, brain injury, neurological disorders, and more. There are many ailments and injuries that can be treated through holistic and rehabilitative care.  

Pain Management 

pain management

One of the focuses of rehabilitation is pain management. This can be life-changing for a patient. Pain can be overwhelming and cause many other serious problems for any person. Finding the cause of the pain and treating it can improve a person’s quality of life and sense of well-being immensely. Pain management through medicine only can create problems with dependency and even a person’s safety. Medications play a role in pain management, but just as important in rehabilitative care are other methods which can help a patient recover in the long-term. 

Physical Therapy 

A focus for many physiatrists is physical therapy. This refers back to the focus on the musculoskeletal system. As a form of pain management, many patients struggle at first to complete physical therapy. Each person can grow stronger and start to experience relief. One-on-one care is key! Physical therapy is life-changing and helps many patients move forward, become more independent, and prevent any further complications. 

Other Methods of Pain Management 

There are other methods of pain management that physiatrists use including deep-tissue massage, bracing, electrotherapies, hot/cold treatment, and injections. These are all used to help each patient move forward on their path to recovery. 


The main goal of rehabilitation is for the patient to have the happiest, most fulfilling and active life they can possibly have. Many patients with serious injuries or conditions feel hopeless and cannot find the care they need. It is so important for a patient to be viewed as a whole person instead of just the ailment they are experiencing. Recovery may look different for each patient, but that is why personalized care and communication with a PM&R doctor is so key to healing. 

Our Patients  

Here at Midwest Orthopedics, our doctors focus on holistic care for each of our patients and giving them the best quality of life. If you are experiencing pain or serious orthopedic conditions, we are here to help you. Make an appointment with our office today, and start on your road to recovery through rehabilitative care!