Dr. Mark Wheaton is a board certified medical doctor in the field of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM & R), a specialty field of medicine sanctioned by the American Board of Medical Specialties. It is also called Physiatry (fizz-ee-a-tree) and the doctor who practices PM&R is called a physiatrist (fizz-ee-a-trist).
The area of outpatient, or ambulatory, care of patients (like Dr. Wheaton’s practice), treat a wide variety of musculoskeletal conditions and chronic pain is growing rapidly. The vast majority of musculoskeletal or orthopaedic problems that present to the physician’s office do not require surgery. The diagnosis and treatment of these types of injuries is best termed “Physical medicine” or “Orthopaedic medicine”.
There are many conditions which a physiatrist evaluates and treats. Severe neurologic injury, such as spinal cord injury, stroke, traumatic brain injury and many other neurological diseases are managed in a hospital-based rehabilitation setting. A physiatrist may also oversee the rehabilitation of cardiac, pulmonary and cancer patients, in addition to amputation, musculoskeletal conditions and chronic pain. A wide range of therapists are utilized along with assistive devices such as wheelchairs and orthotic/prosthetic devices. To assist in diagnosis and management, a physiatrist also relies on electromyography (EMG) and a variety of imaging studies such as x-ray, CT scan and MRI scan to further enhance diagnosis and treatment of options. Physiatrists do not perform surgery.
A variety of treatment approaches can be utilized by the physiatrist, including physical therapy, treatment modalities, therapeutic exercise, medications, a variety of injection techniques (including prolotherapy), manual therapy, orthotics and modification of activities at work and home. All treatment options, or any combination, may be utilized to treat a problem. The ultimate goal in treatment is to treat the person’s pain and to improve function during daily activities as quickly as possible, whether it be work or an active lifestyle.