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What is the difference

mcdermojummcdermoju Posts: 24
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:47 AM in Pain Management
I've seen many of you mention about seeing a physiatrist. What is the difference between a physiatrist and a pain management doc?


  • You can do a search for the exact definition, but basically they are more trained and skilled on all aspects of the body. Muscular, skeletal, emotional, physiological, etc.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • A physiatrist is usually a pain management doctor, but not all PM doctors are physiatrists. For example, the PM doctor I'm currently seeing is an anesthesiologist.

    So you can see how the training Brenda described in a physiatrist would be desirable in a PM doc vs. those of an anesthesiologist, who would be mostly trained just to administer medications and treatments unless he was self-trained in other things.
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  • Wow, thats very interesting..

    Here in Australia my Pain Specialist is a Specialist Anthesioligsit who went on to specialises in pain management prodecures and only this..

    He has the knowledge to diagnose DDD, Fibromyalga and nerve damage and he is also the one who has done all my Epidurals in the hospital..

    Im never hear of a Physiatrist over here.
  • My understanding is that the PM doc does pain management leaning more toward injections or other invasive prodecures. The physiatrist is more toward rehab using a combination of PT, oral meds, trigger pt injections and other therapies.

    Mine work out of a shared practice so they use the same charts. I really like this because I don't have to tell them what the other said. Also they will actually talk during my visit if there is a question.

    Now if I could just get an internist and neurologist to move in with them :)
  • I never heard of a Physiatrist before joining here and have been in Healthcare since 1988 in Canada, and a couple of months in the States. I was able to find one online yellow pages 411 and there is only one in all of my city and he happens to be close to me. He was trained in the States so that may be why. I plan to get an appointment with him soon but am in the process of getting my 6 ESI's this year with my PM Dr. so would not be looking forward to any more shots if he does them and my benefits have run out for Physiotherapy so wonder how he could help?

    mcdermoju-Good luck finding a good Dr. to help you. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
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  • I always thought of a physiatrist as the equivalent of a PMR doctor, or physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor. Thus a physiatrist does address and treat pain, but addresses more of the physical therapy & occupational therapy recovery than most PM docs.
  • Kris-NY said:
    My understanding is that the PM doc does pain management leaning more toward injections or other invasive prodecures. The physiatrist is more toward rehab using a combination of PT, oral meds, trigger pt injections and other therapies.
    On this side of the continent, if you get a PM doctor, you have a 50/50 chance of getting a physiatrist. They are almost always board certified pain medicine, and practice that way. They also are often board certified physical medicine.

    I wish I could find out where my old doctor went :(

    eta: this is an unofficial statistic, based on my own observation, in response to Kris's post.
  • Wow Kris, sounds like the perfect setup, and I'm with you! If I could find them all in one place, it would be awesome... but just having the back guys together would be awesome :) I don't suppose you're near me in NY? hehe...pm me if you're willing to compare locations!

    When I saw the physiatrist here in WC-WP he was part of a "spine" practice... they were supposed to have the ortho, nuero, him and PT all together, which sounded amazing when I talked to them on the phone. It just didnt' seem to be a great fit when I met with their physiatrist, bleh
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