What is a Physiatrist?

11.6 Blog

Physiatrists, or rehabilitation physicians, are nerve, muscle, and bone experts who treat injuries or illnesses that affect how you move. Physiatrists are medical doctors who have completed training in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R). A physiatrist:

  • Diagnoses and treats pain
  • Restores maximum function lost through injury, illness or disabling conditions
  • Treats the whole person, not just the problem area
  • Leads a team of medical professionals
  • Provides non-surgical treatments
  • Explains your medical problems and treatment/prevention plan

The focus is on the development of a comprehensive program to put the pieces of a person’s life back together after injury or disease – without surgery.

Physiatrists take the time needed to accurately pinpoint the source of an ailment. They then design a treatment plan that can be carried out by the patients themselves or with the help of the physiatrist’s medical team. This medical team might include other physicians and health professionals, such as neurologists, orthopedic surgeons, and physical therapists

A physiatrist’s treatment focuses on helping the patient become as functional and pain-free as possible in order to enjoy life as fully as possible.


Dr. Jennifer Solomon is a board-certified physiatrist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Her practice is devoted to using non-operative and minimally invasive treatments of spine and sports injuries. Dr. Solomon serves as a team physician for the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and has covered several sporting events including the New York City marathon, tennis tournaments, volleyball and various races.

The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.


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  1. I had a plate put in between the bones in my left shoulder so that they would not rub together – I started to have pain and they did an ultrasound and found out that the tendon from the shoulder to the neck was completely torn – how did that happen? I did dislocate it once but I leaned forward and it went back in – could that have done it – Dr. Said probably. Started having more pain so I went to a physiatrist and she asked that I go to the PT – well I had laid down in one session and he took hold of the muscle on my right side close to the middle of my chest and sneezed so hard I started to cry and told the Dr. I wouldn’t go back to him – he kept on even after I told him it hurt…..any suggestions – I really do not want to go in and have a surgery that will put me 14 months to heal…

    1. Hi Laurie, thank you for reaching out. We’re sorry to hear about your situation. If you wish to seek any consultation at Hospital for Special Surgery, please contact our Physician Referral Service at 800-796-0482.