Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (Physiatry)

The non-surgical approach to injuries that affect movement, function and quality of life

Physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R), also called physiatry, is the branch of medicine emphasizing the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of nerve, muscle, bone and brain disorders that may produce temporary or permanent impairment. PM&R is one of 24 medical specialties certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties.

Angela M. Tripp, MD, MS, of BarnesCare's Midtown clinic, is a board-certified physiatrist. Physiatrists, or physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) physicians, are medical doctors who have completed training in the medical specialty of PM&R. They treat injuries or illnesses that affect movement, function and quality of life with the aim of enhancing performance and function as much possible. The focus is not on one part of the body, but instead on the development of a comprehensive program for putting a person's life back together.

Physiatrists can:

  • Restore maximum function lost through injury, illness or disabling conditions
  • Treat the whole person, not just the problem area
  • Lead a team of medical professionals
  • Provide non-surgical treatments
  • Diagnose and treat pain

The role of a PM&R physician includes treating any disability resulting from injury or medical illness, from sore shoulders to spinal cord or brain injuries.

Physiatrists take the time needed to accurately pinpoint the source of a problem. They then design a treatment plan that can be carried out with the help of the rehabilitation team. They may also provide therapeutic and diagnostic interventions, such as injections, nerve blocks or manipulations. They can order or perform additional diagnostic testing and provide prescriptions for medications, braces, prosthetics and durable medical equipment. By making accurate diagnoses and providing an appropriate treatment plan, PM&R physicians help patients stay as active as possible at any age. Their broad medical expertise allows them to treat neurological conditions and all types of musculoskeletal diagnoses throughout a person’s lifetime.

Read more about the comprehensive care provided by Dr. Tripp