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Ankit Patel, M.D. Answers Questions On Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Ankit Patel, M.D. Answers Questions On: Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

What do you think patients need to know about seeing a physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor? What might they misunderstand?

Physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians are specialists who focus on the comprehensive evaluation and management of various musculoskeletal conditions in order to optimize function, pain control, and quality of life. They can help identify the cause of the pain and provide a variety of treatment options including physical therapy, medical management, injections, and, when indicated, surgical consultation. Some patients may not be familiar with the subspecialty and they may mistakenly think that it is the same as physical therapy. It is important that we continue to provide education to our patients and healthcare colleagues about the myriad of treatment options and services that we can offer for the betterment of our patients.

Can you say more about some of the latest nonsurgical PM&R treatments?

Radiofrequency ablation, also known as RFA or rhizotomy, involves the creation of small heat lesions along the nerves that carry pain signals from certain areas of arthritis in the spine. The goal of this procedure is to reduce neck or back pain from the arthritic facet joints in the spine. This procedure is performed in a minimally invasive fashion with the use of needles.

Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive treatment for the management of persistent back pain from a recent compression fracture. The procedure involves the creation of a low-pressure cavity in a painful compression fracture, followed by placement of cement into the cavity and along the fracture lines to provide relief of fracture pain.

A spinal cord stimulator (SCS) is an FDA-approved device for management of various persistent pain conditions in the trunk or limbs (back, arms, or legs). It involves the delivery of a low-voltage electrical current to the spinal cord in order to reduce the sensation of pain.