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.

performing physical therapy

Make an Appointment

Make an appointment at one of our locations:

Newport Hospital

20 Powel Avenue, Turner Building, 1st Floor
Newport, RI 02840
Phone: 401-845-1652


766 Allens Avenue, Suite 110
Providence, RI 02905
Phone: 401-606-4150

What Is a Physiatrist?

Physiatrists are physicians who have completed specialized training in physical medicine and rehabilitation. At Lifespan, our physiatrists treat the whole patient, not one part of the body, which helps to maximize patients’ independence in activities of daily living and improve quality of life. 

These doctors may be certified in a variety of subspecialties, such as brain injury medicine, hospice, palliative medicine, neuromuscular medicine, pain medicine, spinal cord injury medicine, oncology, pediatrics, and sports medicine.

Physiatrists are liaisons between patients and other providers. They focus on safety and coordination of care for the patient, provide functional consultative services, and guide the patient’s rehabilitative journey from the hospital, to rehab, and ideally, back to everyday life. Physiatrists build long-term relationships with patients, helping them reach their goals. 

Physiatry provides integrated, multidisciplinary care aimed at recovery of the whole person by addressing the individual's physical, emotional, medical, vocational, and social needs. 

Meet the physical medicine team

Our Services

Inpatient Care 

We provide medical oversight and rehabilitation for patients admitted to the Vanderbilt Rehabilitation Center's inpatient program

Outpatient Services

The Wheelchair Seating and Mobility Clinic assists adults who need custom wheelchairs and accessories. A physiatrist completes a face-to-face mobility evaluation and refers the patient for a wheelchair assessment by an occupational or physical therapist. The client, doctor, therapist, and wheelchair supplier work together to ensure the most appropriate mobility device is selected to meet the patient’s individual seating, positioning, and skin protection needs.

The Orthotic and Prosthetic Clinic specializes in custom-made orthotics and prosthetics. Our team is a patient-centered collaboration between the physiatrist and certified orthoptist/prosthetist with the goal of optimizing mobility and physical function through the use of orthotic and prosthetic devices as part of a comprehensive rehabilitation program.

Other Outpatient Services

  • Acupuncture
  • Baclofen pump management
  • Botox injections for migraine headaches
  • Botox injections under EMG guidance
  • Disability evaluations
  • Independent medical evaluations
  • Manipulative therapy
  • Nerve conduction and electromyography
  • Oversight and management of services provided by occupational, physical and speech therapists
  • Peripheral joint injections to the knee, shoulder, wrist, elbow (ultrasound-guided as needed)
  • Prosthetics and orthotics evaluation
  • Trigger point injections

Kelly Regains Flexibility

Home health aide for the elderly was herself having difficulty walking

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

Read Kelly's story

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:

  • Amputations, limb loss
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Chronic cardiac and pulmonary conditions
  • Chronic neurological conditions (multiple sclerosis, Guillian Barre syndrome, Parkinson's disease)
  • Extensive trauma
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Myopathy
  • Neuromuscular, orthopedic, and musculoskeletal conditions (poliomyelitis, joint replacement surgery)
  • Post-polio
  • Spina bifida
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Stroke
  • Traumatic and acquired brain injury

Our Collaborators

With Lifespan’s high standard facilities readily available, our patients benefit from seamless referrals, and access to skilled neurologists, orthopedic surgeons, and physical therapists. Treatment plans require physiatrists and additional care team members to collaborate with other Lifespan facilities that might include:

Our Facilities

We want our patients to feel safe, respected, and comfortable. Our facilities have been designed with accessibility in mind:

  • Exam rooms have high-low tables for easy transfers 
  • Entries are extra wide to accommodate stretchers and wheelchairs and all l entries have wheelchair ramps.
  • Our Providence location on Allens Avenue has valet parking, while our Newport location allows for front door drop off. 
  • We have extra canes, walkers, and slide boards available for wheelchair-bound patients to easily move from wheelchair to examining table or other surfaces.

Lifespan Locations

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