What Is a Physiatrist? What Can They Do for You?
When you have any type of blow to the head or whiplash-like injury in a fall, car accident, or other event, the first and most important thing to do is schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor. You want your doctor to assess the severity of your injury and refer you to one of two specialists—either a neurologist or a physiatrist. Those are the only medical professionals in the United States who are certified to treat concussions and similar forms of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and head trauma.
What Is a Physiatrist, and How Can a Physiatrist Help You?
If you are like most people, you’ve probably never heard the term “physiatrist.” A physiatrist is a licensed physician who specializes in rehabilitation, typically focusing on nonsurgical treatment of neurological, musculoskeletal, and other maladies. Physiatrists share a lot of common medical knowledge with physical therapists, but physiatrists hold a medical degree. It’s fairly common for physiatrists, when treating a concussion or other TBI, to work in tandem with occupational and physical therapists to help patients reestablish balance, improve cognitive skills, and address vision problems or headaches.
The primary area of specialty for physiatrists, though, is the body’s vestibular system, which includes the inner ear and its chambers. If you’ve ever had an ear infection and experienced balance issues, you have a basic understanding of the relationship between balance and the vestibular system. Often, the inner ear and its connection to the brain are negatively affected by a TBI or concussion, causing dizziness, vertigo, and problems with coordination. Injuries affecting your vestibular system can also cause vision problems, as the inner ear and its chambers help keep your eyes focused when your head is moving.
A physiatrist diagnoses vestibular problems and develops exercise programs to help improve balance and function. Unlike a physical therapist, a physiatrist is a medical doctor who can legally prescribe medication.
Contact Us to Set Up an Appointment
At Advantage Healthcare Systems, we have extensive experience working successfully with individuals who suffer a concussion or other type of TBI. Call us toll-free at 1-877-487-8289 or fill out the form provided below to schedule an assessment. We offer locations across Texas, including Fort Worth, Dallas, and San Antonio.