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Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (Physiatry)

COVID-19 update: Our orthopedic surgeons, rehab specialists, sports medicine doctors and athletic trainers are seeing patients. Video visits are available for many appointment types. For in-person visits, we have implemented additional safety measures to protect you and our caregivers. Call 858-657-8200, and we will guide you to the most appropriate type of care.

UC San Diego Health's physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians (physiatrists) are board-certified specialists who non-surgically treat conditions that affect how your body functions as a whole.

We are experts in the biomechanics of injury and rehabilitation. Working closely with physical therapists, occupational therapists, orthopedic surgeons and sports medicine doctors, our physiatry experts can optimize your ability to function comfortably.

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Treatments

Our team provides compassionate care and offers many approaches for restoring function and improving quality of life.

Physiotherapy (Therapeutic Exercise)

After we diagnose your condition, we can recommend and guide a physical therapy program. (See Physical Therapy for the types of therapy we offer.) Therapeutic exercise can have a powerful impact on people living with:

Therapeutic Injections

Joint and spinal injections can reduce inflammation, improve mobility, reduce pain and help confirm the source of pain. Injections are a popular option if you are not ready for or are not a good candidate for surgery.

Joint Injections: We perform a variety of therapeutic joint injections in commonly injured joints such as the hip, knee and shoulder including:

  • Steriod injections
  • Hyaluronic acid injections
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections
  • Ultrasound-guided injection procedures

Spinal Injections: We offer diagnostic and therapeutic injections for back pain and sacroiliac joint pain, including:

  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Diagnostic nerve blocks
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Facet joint injections
  • Sacroiliac (SI) joint injections

Osteopathic Manual Manipulation (OMT)

Osteopathic manual manipulation involves stretching, gentle pressure and resistance to move muscles and joints. Manual manipulation with one of our physiatrists can restore function by:

  • Changing resting tension in a muscle or tendon
  • Improving alignment of bones and joints
  • Altering structures impinging on nerves
  • Releasing stress held in myofascial tissue

Braces, Orthotics, Prostheses and Adaptive Equipment

Using orthopedic devices, orthotics, prostheses and other adaptive equipment, our physiatrists can help:

  • Support and correct the function of an injured or damaged part of the body
  • Treat and prevent all types of chronic pain
  • Help amputee patients attain a greater level of functional independence 

Diagnosing Your Injury or Source of Pain

Our physiatrists have specialized, formal training in advanced diagnostics, including:

  • Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS) to assess neurologic problems. Electrodiagnostic studies and imaging are used to evaluate and confirm a diagnosis.
  • Ultrasound to diagnose certain musculoskeletal conditions. Ultrasound can be performed during an office visit, avoiding the need for an MRI, X-ray or CT scan.

Ergonomic Workspace for Pain Relief

A poorly designed workspace can cause and aggravate chronic pain. Our team can provide recommendations for an ergonomic, physically appropriate work environment. Using adaptive equipment in the office, home, car and elsewhere can make a huge difference when it comes to pain relief.