What Can a Physiatrist Do for You?

 What does a physiatrist do?

The first question you’re asking is probably, “Physia what?” Physiatry—pronounced fiz eye’ a tree—is the medical specialty of physical medicine and rehabilitation. Medical doctors who are specially trained in this field are called physiatrists. They deal with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disability caused by acute or chronic disease (download our Physiatry brochure).

So what does that mean for you? A doctor who is trained in physiatry is especially adept at helping people who are recovering from minor to serious injuries related to:

  • Sports injuries
  • Work-related accidents
  • Back, knee or shoulder problems and other musculoskeletal disorders
  • Stroke
  • Multiple sclerosis and other neuromuscular or movement disorders
  • Effects of cancer treatment
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Amputations
  • Lung conditions
  • Arthritis

Physiatrists also help people who have acute and chronic pain issues through the use of comprehensive rehabilitation and, when needed, interventional physiatry. Interventional physiatry is a minimally invasive, targeted procedure that can help diagnose many issues and reduce pain. The procedure is performed by a physiatrist who uses X-rays to guide the precise placement of a steroid injection with a small needle.  

The bottom line is that unless it’s obvious that surgery is required, a visit to a physiatrist is ideally the first referral for most injuries. Here’s why: Physiatrists have a unique, thorough understanding of the body works—which translates into a definite advantage for many patients.

Video: When should I see a physiatrist?

Interventional Physiatry at Gaylord

Interventional physiatry is offered at Gaylord by Bruce Hsu, M.D. Dr. Hsu, board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, completed an Interventional Spine Fellowship and is specifically trained in interventional physiatry. Interventional physiatry is a minimally invasive, targeted procedure that can help diagnose many issues and reduce pain. The procedure is performed by a physiatrist who uses X-rays to guide the precise placement of a steroid injection with a small needle.

What are Steroid Injections?

Steroid injections are a common treatment for many forms of low back pain, leg pain, joint pain and radicular pain. They can be an integral part of the non-surgical management of conditions like sciatica and low back pain. The goal of the injection is pain relief. At times the injection alone is sufficient to provide relief. However, steroid injections are commonly used in combination with a comprehensive rehabilitation program to provide additional benefit. Since the vast majority of pain stems from chemical inflammation, a steroid injection can help control local inflammation while also “flushing out” inflammatory proteins and chemicals from the local area that may contribute to pain.

Procedures Performed

  • Joint Injections: Sacroiliac, knee, hip and shoulder
  • Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections, interlaminar and transforaminal
  • Nerve Root Block Injections
  • Occipital Nerve Block
  • Sciatic Nerve Block
  • Trigger Point Injections
  • Intercostal Nerve Block

Diagnosis and Conditions Treated

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Radiculopathy
  • Radicular lower extremity pain
  • Low back pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Pain from post-surgical scars
  • Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
  • Sciatica (sciatic nerve irritation)
  • Spasticity
  • Spondylosis and facet joint pain

Video: What is a physiatry?

Top 10 Reasons to See a Physiatrist

  1. Physiatry is a medical specialty.
  2. Physiatrists are medical doctors. They are M.D.s and D.O.s.
  3. Physiatrists treat the whole person, not just a condition.
  4. Physiatrists use the latest treatments and modalities.
  5. No problem is ever too small or too big for a physiatrist.
  6. Physiatry treatment is highly individualized to meet the specific needs of the patient.
  7. Physiatry can often help people avoid surgery.
  8. The physiatrist’s job is restore as much function and independence as possible—to put the pieces of people’s lives back together.
  9. The physiatrist works with a team of health care professionals that includes physicians of other medical specialties, nurses and therapists.
  10. Physiatrists can help with acute and chronic pain management issues.

For appointments or referrals contact us at:

Outpatient Therapy Referrals and Appointments (Wallingford and North Haven): (203) 284-2888

Outpatient Medical Services Referrals and Appointments: (203) 284-2845

Outpatient Referral Fax: (203) 294-8705

To schedule an appointment with a physiatrist: (203) 294-3270


Gaylord Hospital Gaylord Wellness Center Gaylord Sleep Medicine / Guilford
Gaylord Hospital

Gaylord Farm Road

Wallingford, CT 06492

(203) 284-2800

Gaylord Physical Therapy, Orthopedics
and Sports Medicine

8 Devine Street

North Haven, CT 06473

203-230-9226 / 203-284-2818 Sleep Medicine

Gaylord Specialty Healthcare