What is Physiatry?

Physiatry (fizz EYE uh tree), or Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, is a branch of medicine that focuses on restoring and maintaining optimal body function. People usually seek the care of a physiatrist after some level of disability or impairment has occurred. The degree of this impairment can be significant or less severe, temporary or more lasting in nature and the patient can be of any age or gender. The cause or causes of the impairment may stem from a wide range of conditions, including accidents and sports injuries, disease complications, post-surgical effects, post-amputation concerns, birth defects and diseases or chronic conditions. The emphasis of a physiatric practice is always function centered, with the main focus on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of impairment of the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and pulmonary systems.

If this sounds like a very broad scope, you are right. This is because physiatry is an integrated care specialty—a sort of one-stop, team-oriented medicine and rehab shop. Physiatry does not conform to the typical medical office model, where a physician performs the standard examination and orders the standard tests of their specialty and then prescribes the standard treatments related to these results. Physiatrists, because their scope is so encompassing, follow a whole person rehab model that takes the individual’s ability to function in the totality of their life into account, not just the ability of one body part going through the paces in a clinical setting. Physiatrists know that it isn’t only a single body part that needs rehabilitation after a disabling event. They get to know the whole patient in order to address their specific issues and goals regarding their quality of life at the moment of their first office visit, for tomorrow, and going foreword.

What is a Physiatrist?

A physiatrist is a physician of function. As such, they are trained and have special expertise in a broad range of diagnostic techniques, rehabilitation and physical therapies, acute and chronic pain management, and a wide range of other rehabilitation and function related areas of non-surgical intervention and treatment. Often called the “quality of life” profession, physiatrists aim to restore optimal functioning, no matter what a patient’s rehabilitative starting point. They believe that there is always something that can be done to improve a patient’s quality of life.

Physiatrists take a whole person approach to functional impairment, spinal cord injuries, amputations, birth defects, lymphedema, repetitive stress injuries… physiatrists diagnose and treat a wide range of symptoms and disabling conditions because they treat the whole patient.

What to Expect at my First Appointment?


If you have been referred to Rehabilitation Associates of Naples, chances are that your physician has examined you and determined that you should have additional diagnostics and/or intervention by a physiatrist (an MD who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation) or other of the rehabilitation specialists who are part of the RAN team. In this case, you will either have an appointment with one of the doctors or you will begin initial treatments, with further evaluations along the way as necessary. At the time you make your appointment you will be told about any special orders prior to your visit.

Self-Referred Patients

If you are coming to Rehabilitation Associates of Naples on your own, you will need a more thorough examination. Please inform the person who takes your call that you are a first time client and either give them a brief explanation of your symptoms OR complete the form in the office at the time of your visit.

How can I Prepare for my First Appointment?

Before we go into any technical preparation, no matter why you are visiting Rehabilitation Associates of Naples (RAN), the first thing you should do is relax. You are going to be in good hands. How you proceed will depend on what sort of appointment you are coming in for.