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Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation


The physicians who practice at Children’s Health and rehabilitation staff specialize in treating children and adolescents. They understand the effects of conditions such as spina bifida or muscular dystrophy on your child’s body and can help manage the disease to ease discomfort and improve everyday movement and function for your child.

What is physical medicine and rehabilitation?

Doctors who specialize in physical rehabilitation also are called physiatrists. They are trained to diagnose the specific reason for your child’s problem and are prepared to design a treatment plan especially for your child to restore functions such as speech and language or movement. The physiatrist works with a team of professionals who help your child with specific activities, such as occupational or speech therapists.

Your child may need rehabilitation after an injury to teach healing muscles and nerves to work again. Some children are born with disorders of the brain and nervous system or of the skeletal system that cause problems with movement or strength. The physiatrist looks at your child’s entire body and all of your child’s functions, not just at one symptom or problem. They may help with rehabilitation following surgery, but physiatrists do not use surgery as part of their treatment.

Rehabilitation for your child

Our physical medicine and rehabilitation team cares for children being treated as inpatients by evaluating their needs before they leave the hospital. We also see children regularly for scheduled outpatient visits. We know the kinds of services children typically need for many conditions and tailor the services specifically to your child’s age, health and situation.

The physiatrist will recommend treatment from members of the treatment team and uses tests as necessary to diagnose and track your child’s progress. Depending on your child’s needs, your child might receive different types of therapy. Our team approach includes involving your child, parents and other family members or caregivers in helping your child adjust and improve as much as much as possible.

Reasons children need rehabilitation

We specialize in helping children who have problems with neurological or musculoskeletal disorders, such as spina bifida and cerebral palsy. The physiatrist might prescribe physical therapy to help relax your child’s muscles or occupational therapy to help your child with a spinal cord injury better adapt to perform routine activities.