Pediatric physiatry is a branch of medicine in which doctors specialize in the rehabilitative care and medical management of children with brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, neuromuscular disorders and an array of musculoskeletal conditions.
Doctors who diagnose a child’s medical condition and develop a treatment plan that takes both your child’s medical and rehabilitation needs into account are known as pediatric physiatrists. They care for your child from the time he becomes sick or injured and throughout the rehabilitation process.
What does a pediatric physiatrist do?
A physiatrist helps prevent, diagnose, treat and manage your child’s congenital (present at birth) or childhood-onset physical impairments. These may include related medical, physical, function, psychosocial and vocational limitations or conditions. A pediatric physiatrist is specially trained to identify a child’s functional capabilities and to select the best rehabilitation intervention strategies while also understanding the continuum of care your child may need throughout the course of his disability.
Our physiatry team at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta uses its specialized training and expertise to provide rehabilitative care for children with the following injuries and conditions:
- Back pain
- Brachial plexus injury
- Brain injury
- Cerebral palsy
- Congenital or acquired amputation
- Congenital or acquired heart conditions
- Congenital disabilities
- Gait problems
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Muscular dystrophy (MD)
- Neuromuscular disease
- Spasticity problems
- Spina bifida
- Spinal cord injury
Our rehabilitation staff is specially trained to provide a full range of physiatry services for children and teens, including:
- Bone-strengthening interventions (bisphosphonate medication management)
- Botulinum toxin injections (spasticity management)
- Inpatient and outpatient consultation and management
- Intrathecal baclofen pump therapy and management (spasticity management)
- Phenol or alcohol nerve blocks (spasticity management)
- Prescriptions for outpatient therapy services and specialized cardiac rehab
We also provide prescriptions for medical equipment, such as wheelchairs, orthotics, prosthetics and communication devices, to help your child gain greater independence. Physiatry staff works with adaptive sports professionals to help your child find sports he can enjoy and safely play.
Physiatrists see patients in their practice group and as part of the Children’s rehabilitation programs. They also participate in multidisciplinary clinics and programs, including:
- Brain tumor
- Cerebral palsy
- Limb deficiency
- Muscular dystrophy
- Seating and mobility
- Spina bifida
We have board-certified pediatric physiatrists on staff at Children’s. Some of our physicians also have an additional certification in brain injury medicine. Their expertise and training help children, adolescents and young adults with injuries and disorders reach optimal outcomes. We take a family-centered, team approach to caring for your child’s acute and chronic condition. We actively include the family in the treatment process because we believe that patients recover more fully with family involvement.