PHYSICAL MEDICINE / ELECTRODIAGNOSIS
Physical medicine and rehabilitation, also called physiatry, is a specialty that focuses on the restoration of function to people with problems ranging from simple physical mobility issues to those with complex cognitive involvement.
The physiatrist deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic pain and musculoskeletal disorders, such as arthritis, tendonitis, low back pain, or sports or work-related injuries. Physiatry also encompasses the treatment of patients with severe congenital or acquired pathology of the musculoskeletal systems resulting in functional limitations.
Electrodiagnosis is a significant aspect to physical medicine and used extensively in the field. Electrodiagnostic medicine procedures can be used in the diagnosis of numbness, weakness, fatigue, cramps and abnormal sensations. The two procedures used most commonly are the electromyographic examination (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS).
During electrodiagnostic medicine examinations, physiatrists assess electrical activity in muscles by inserting fine electrodes into them. The electrical activity can be both observed and heard. Nerve conduction studies evaluate the presence of nerve damage by applying electrical stimulation to portions of nerves. A third procedure, called evoked potentials, also is routinely used in physical medicine and rehabilitation to evaluate sensory impulses in the nerves, spinal cord and brain.
Using electrodiagnostic testing to measure the speed and degree of electrical activity in your muscles and nerves can help your doctor make a proper diagnosis.