Exercise is a foundation for optimal health and well-being. Our bodies are designed for movement, and being active brings benefits such as weight management, injury reduction, increased energy, disease resistance and improved sleep. But what if you can’t exercise because of a painful medication condition? Exercise would likely help, but if you’re in too much pain you may not be able to get started.
If your ability to move is compromised by a condition relating to nerve, bone or muscle, a physiatrist has the training and knowledge you need. Physiatrists are medical doctors with the specialty of physical medicine and rehabilitation. They support your quest to improve your activity level by diagnosing the underlying cause of your pain and devising a non-surgical treatment plan.
If your issue involves nerve or muscle, your physiatrist might perform an electromyography (EMG) test to determine muscle and nerve function. Lasting anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes, this test involves two parts. One is a nerve examination in which your doctor electrically stimulates specific nerves and then measures their function. The other part of this test is a muscle study involving the insertion of fine needles into muscle tissue and an analysis of the signals picked up from the needles. Whether only one or both parts of the EMG are performed is determined by the specific nature of your condition. Symptoms that could generate an EMG referral from your doctor include tingling, sensation loss, numbing, burning or radiating pain.
Physiatrists also use other diagnostic tools shared by many medical specialties. Some of these include:
- Blood work analysis
- CT scan
- Bone scan
- Cardiac & pulmonary testing
The goal of your physiatrist is to help you achieve optimal functioning despite your condition and to improve the overall quality of your life. In doing so, they may employ the assistance of a team of other specialists, including physical therapists, nurses, occupational therapists, orthopedists, rheumatologists and prosthetists.
A physiatrist is a medical doctor, and as such can prescribe medication and referrals as needed. Each treatment plan is tailored to the patient’s specific needs, and some of the methods used include:
- Pain medication
- Hot and cold therapy
- Artificial limbs
- Therapeutic exercise
If you have movement-related pain that’s holding you back from a healthier lifestyle, a physiatrist could offer the help you need, and can suggest a less invasive approach if your condition is one that is sometimes treated surgically. Contact Doctors United to book an appointment and begin the process of improving your ability to exercise and restoring your health.
Yours in health,