Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physician  What They Do

Just the Facts

Diagnoses and treats disorders requiring physiotherapy to provide physical, mental, and occupational rehabilitation.

This career is part of the Health Science cluster Therapeutic Services pathway.

A person in this career:

  • Documents examination results, treatment plans, and patients' outcomes.
  • Examines patients to assess mobility, strength, communication, or cognition.
  • Provides inpatient or outpatient medical management of neuromuscular disorders, musculoskeletal trauma, acute and chronic pain, deformity or amputation, cardiac or pulmonary disease, or other disabling conditions.
  • Assesses characteristics of patients' pain such as intensity, location, or duration using standardized clinical measures.
  • Monitors effectiveness of pain management interventions such as medication or spinal injections.
  • Develops comprehensive plans for immediate and long-term rehabilitation including therapeutic exercise; speech and occupational therapy; counseling; cognitive retraining; patient, family or caregiver education; or community reintegration.
  • Coordinates physical medicine and rehabilitation services with other medical activities.
  • Performs electrodiagnosis including electromyography, nerve conduction studies, or somatosensory evoked potentials of neuromuscular disorders or damage.
  • Prescribes physical therapy to relax the muscles and improve strength.
  • Consults or coordinates with other rehabilitative professionals including physical and occupational therapists, rehabilitation nurses, speech pathologists, neuropsychologists, behavioral psychologists, social workers, or medical technicians.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposed to disease and infections more than once a month through work such as patient care, laboratory work, and sanitation control
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

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  • Doctor of Medicine/Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation PM&R Specialist --
  • Medical Director --
  • Medical Director Acute Rehabilitation Unit Physiatrist --
  • Pain Management Physician -- Has special training in evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of all different types of pain.
  • Pediatric Physiatrist --
  • Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physician, Medical Director --
  • Rehabilitation Physician --