Medication, Rehabilitative Therapies, and Prosthetics/Orthotics


The physiatrist has training and expertise in the appropriate use and prescription of: pain and other medications, all of the rehabilitative therapies, prosthetics (artificial limbs), orthotics (external braces or devices), and mechanical and electrical assistive devices (wheelchairs, lifts).

Some of the most common types of rehabilitative therapy include: physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and recreational therapy. Physical therapy is provided by physical therapists. It helps to control or decrease pain, increase strength and range of motion, and regain use of your extremities. Treatment may include stretching and strengthening activities, endurance training, training in using assistive devices, moist heat, ultrasound, electric stimulation, ice packs, wound care, and traction.

Types of Rehabilitation Therapy

Occupational therapy is provided by occupational therapists. It helps with getting you back to performing the activities of daily living, such as bathing, eating, toileting, and dressing. Treatment is designed to improve your fine motor skills, strength and flexibility, cognition, and other areas that affect your independence at home and in the community.

Speech therapy is provided by speech language pathologists or speech therapists. It helps you recover from communication, cognitive, and swallowing disorders.

Recreational therapy is provided by recreational therapists. It helps you regain the ability to engage in the leisure activities that you enjoyed prior to their injury or illness.

A prosthesis is an artificial body part to replace one missing due to disease or accident, usually a limb.

An orthotic is a device worn to limit and/or immobilize an extremity, joint or a body part; to restrict movement in a given direction; or to assist movement. Orthotics are also used to reduce the amount of weight you bear; aid rehabilitation from fractures after the removal of a cast; and correct the shape and/or function of the body, to provide easier movement capability or reduce pain.

Physiatrists are experts in prescribing all assistive devices such as wheelchairs, walkers and canes.