Our specialty of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is also referred to as physiatry. Physiatrists are medical experts on physical impairment, disability and handicap. As such, we are well versed on the definitions of these entities as defined by the World Health Organization. Physiatrists are therefore ideally suited to address return to work issues (i.e., physical capacities) and the presence versus absence of disability. A common goal of physiatrists is to help return patients with various forms of physical impairment and disability back into the mainstream of life and independent with as many activities of daily living as possible.
The term physical medicine refers to the outpatient practice involving the evaluation of muscle, nerve and joint injuries and disease processes that present in our office as complaints of pain, weakness, numbness and tingling. This requires that we take a detailed neuromuscular and musculoskeletal clinical history of the patient and perform a neuromuscular clinical examination. We are further qualified to perform and interpret electrodiagnostic testing, commonly referred to as EMGs and nerve conduction studies to further evaluate and confirm muscle or nerve injury and disease processes and their prognoses.
Both Dr. Hennessey and Dr. Kozakiewicz have experience and training in interpreting imaging studies including x-rays and MRIs. The doctors therefore serve as a “one stop shop” with the ability to perform the clinical history, physical examination, review of imaging studies and electrodiagnostic studies if needed in order to provide a comprehensive neuromuscular assessment of a patient. We routinely prescribe medications, perform injections, prescribe formal physical therapy as well as home exercise and work closely with local and regional orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons and interventional spine injection specialists.
The term rehabilitation medicine refers to taking care of those individuals who are considered classically disabled or handicapped by our society including patients who have suffered from strokes, traumatic brain injuries and amputations. Within this realm of medicine, physiatrists are considered experts on the topics of orthoses (bracing), prostheses (artificial limbs) and durable medical equipment (e.g., canes, crutches, walkers and wheelchairs). Physiatrists also deal with spasticity as related to central nervous system pathology including the implementation of EMG-guided phenol motor point blocks as well as botulism toxin injections.