Hi, I’m Thyme, and I get injured a lot. When my future in-laws recommended that I see a physiatrist, my first reaction was “physia-what-now?” I had never heard of this medical specialty, and judging from reactions when I’ve mentioned it to others, I’m not alone. Heck, spellcheck doesn’t even recognize the word! My online research revealed that a physiatrist (pronounced fiz-EYE-a-trist) is an M.D. who specializes in “physical medicine and rehabilitation.”
Physiatrists take a holistic approach, evaluating the body as a system, looking at functional movement, and devising treatment plans that incorporate pain management, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and/or medications as appropriate. Unlike most orthopedists, physiatrists tend to focus on non-surgical solutions. They often collaborate with other practitioners, like physical therapists, to implement rehabilitation plans for patients.
This all sounds great, but I still wondered: I’ve had my fair share of running injuries. Why haven’t I heard of these doctors before?