What is Physiatry

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The Medical Student's Guide to PM&R

Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R), Rehabilitation Medicine, and Rehabilitative Medicine are all terms used to describe what a physiatrist does.

A physiatrist, pronounced fizz ee at' trist or fizz i’ a trist, is a physician who has received specialized training in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R). PM&R, or physiatry, is the branch of medicine emphasizing the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of disorders that produce temporary or permanent functional impairment.

Physiatry is unique among medical fields in that its area of expertise addresses the function of the whole patient, as compared with a focus on an organ system or systems. Suffering an acute injury or living with chronic illness can affect the way people move and communicate, perceive themselves and their role in the home and workplace. Physiatry is about patient-centered care and maximizing independence and mobility with the goal of returning patients to their roles in society.