Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

What Is Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R)?

Physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R), also known as physiatry or rehabilitation medicine, is a medical specialty that restores functional abilities and quality of life to a person with physical impairments or disabilities affecting the brain, spinal cord, nerves, bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. These conditions may be the result of a disease, disorder, or injury, and impact people of all ages.

What is the difference between a PM&R Physician (Physiatrist) and a Physical Therapist?

Physiatrists make and manage medical diagnoses and recommend the therapies that physical therapists subsequently perform. The role of the physiatrist is to manage a patient’s care as they move through the rehabilitation process.

A physiatrist will also help manage co-existing conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, CAD, COPD, etc, in order to prevent further medical complications.

Physical therapists are trained in the clinical features of common musculoskeletal pathology, musculoskeletal examination and developing a treatment plan and exercise regimen.

Physical therapists and physiatrists collaborate and communicate to ensure patients are receiving appropriate treatment.

performing physical therapy

Make an Appointment

To make an appointment in Providence call: 401-606-4150

To make an appointment in Newport call: 401-845-1652

PM&R Conditions We Treat

Physiatrists practice in a variety of medical settings and treat patients of all ages. They diagnose and treat pain as a result of an injury, illness, or disabling condition. Some examples of conditions our physiatrists treats are:

  • Amputations, limb loss
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Chronic cardiac and pulmonary conditions
  • Chronic neurological conditions (multiple sclerosis, Guillian Barre syndrome, Parkinson's disease)

For a full list of conditions we treat, visit our services page.

PM&R Patient Care

Physiatrists are experts in designing comprehensive, patient-centered treatment plans. Working in partnership with an array of rehabilitation professionals, they utilize cutting-edge as well as time-tested treatments to maximize each patient’s function and quality of life.

By assessing a patient’s needs early in their hospital stay, physiatrists can recommend the most effective path forward through rehabilitation, with the potential for speeding recovery and a quicker return to home and work life. Additionally, a patient’s care team may include occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech therapists, and other clinicians.

Meet the physical medicine team

Kelly Sullivan, Newport Hospital patient

Kelly Regains Flexibility

Home health aide for the elderly was herself having difficulty walking

Kelly first saw Mustapha Kemal, MD for treatment at a hospital in Connecticut, and found his care so valuable that she followed him to Newport Hospital.

Read Kelly's story

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Near Me

Over 1,620 hospitals and clinics throughout Rhode Island, here are some featured locations: