To enter Medical School, we had to complete undergraduate University Studies that met the criteria for entrance to Medical School with a high enough GPA to be accepted to Medical Schools in America. In addition, to be accepted to Medical School we needed to pass a test known as the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). (This is like the SAT or ACT test but focused on information needed to succeed in Medical School.)
So, after 4 years of College, we complete an additional 4 years of Medical School. This is followed by 4 years of Intensive Training in our Medical Specialty.
I always explain it this way, “Once you complete high school, you are halfway there.” I say this because after 12 years of school to graduate from high school, we then complete an additional 12 years of schooling to be ready to start seeing patients.
Our Specialty is Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PMR). This is a Specialty that was developed beginning in 1926 by Dr. Coulter who recognized a need for physicians trained in diagnosing muscle, bone, and ligament injuries and conditions using non-surgical means. Dr. Krusen started the first Residency Program in the Specialty in 1936, at the Mayo Clinic.
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physicians are also sometimes known as “physiatrists” (fizz-ee-at’-trists); however, we never use that term because it can be confused with the words “psychiatrists” and “podiatrists”. Some also refer to us as Rehab Physicians but we do not typically use that term either, since it can bring up confusion with drug rehab or alcohol rehab, which is usually directed by psychiatrists.
Therefore, we usually refer to ourselves as PMR Physicians since that way there is no confusion.
PMR Physicians receive 4 years of training after Medical School. The training includes expertise in physical exams and other evaluations of all the bones, muscles, and nerves in the body.
All PMR Physicians receive training in Spinal Cord Injuries, Traumatic Brain Injuries, Sports Injuries and Pediatric Rehabilitation; however, some PMR Physicians specialize in these areas. Those who receive extra training in these sub-specialties work at hospitals specializing in these niche areas.
We have special training in treatment of spinal disorders and nerve disorders including the ability to do spinal injections and EMG Nerve tests.
Some of the PMR Residency training we receive that applies to our practice is reading MRI scans, X-rays and CT Scans to find anatomical problems that relate to the pain that patients are suffering from.
We also receive Special Training in EMG Nerve tests and are the only specialty that is required to complete 200 EMG Nerve Tests to graduate from Residency. This requirement is different compared to neurologists who also sometimes do EMG Nerve Tests. If neurologists want to do EMG Nerve Tests, they typically must take additional training after their Residency.
Although we are not a well-known specialty, those who know us are glad they do.
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