Functional Restoration of Patients with Pain

  • Ali Nemat
  • Yogi Matharu


This chapter will introduce a different group of clinicians who treat pain with a primary focus of improvement in functional mobility of the patients. One of these disciplines is physical medicine and rehabililtation, also called physiatry. Like any other clinician, a physiatrist follows the established algorithms for the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of medical conditions. The same is true for the evaluation and treatment of pain patients. A physiatrist evaluates the pain patient, orders appropriate diagnostic studies, and then treats the patient with appropriate therapeutic modalities including the medication and interventional procedures. One factor that differentiates the physiatrists from other clinicians is their focus of treating the patient as a whole, looking not only at the area of disability but also the patients’ functional capability and the tasks that they are able to accomplish. The ideal model for the treatment of pain is a multidisciplinary approach, meaning that a variety of clinicians from different disciplines address the treatment of complicated pain syndromes. This does not necessarily mean that each individual pain patient will require an elaborate program to receive appropriate care. In fact, many of these patients could and should be able to get adequate treatment at a primary care level. However, when required, a multidisciplinary setting will enable the clinicians to treat pain effectively. This will eventually result in an overall reduction of the number of chronic pain patients in the community. The training curriculum for the physiatrist includes the musculoskeletal system as well as the peripheral nervous system. Combining the findings from a thorough physical examination and appropriate diagnostic studies enables the physiatrist to make the diagnosis and then develop an effective treatment plan. Even though the treatments offered to patients with pain generally follow the similar algorithm, as mentioned earlier the main focus here will be the functional restoration for the patients.


Physical Therapy Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Physical Therapist Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Chronic Pain Patient 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ali Nemat
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yogi Matharu
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Division of Pain MedicineUniversity of Southern California Keck School of MedicineLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Pain Fellowship Program, Department of AnesthesiologyUniversity of Southern California Keck School of MedicineLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.University of Southern California Physical Therapy AssociatesLos AngelesUSA
  4. 4.Orthopedic Physical Therapy ResidencyLos AngelesUSA
  5. 5.Division of Biokinesiology and Physical TherapyUniversity of Southern California School of DentistryLos AngelesUSA

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