A 41-year-old male named Max visited an MSR-supported physiatrist when he experienced left shoulder pain, with inability to raise his arm. The physiatrist diagnosed him with a massive left rotator cuff tear causing pain, weakness and limited active range of motion.
Max had a prior left rotator cuff tear with surgical repair. Due to the severity of this second tear, he was not a surgical candidate; therefore, recommendations were for physical therapy and a home exercise program.
Max showed improved active range of motion (lacking only 20 degrees of flexion & abduction) and strength (4/5 flexion and abduction, 4+/5 external rotation, 5/5 internal rotation) after starting his treatment; and after nine months of treatment, Max made very significant improvement and is functioning independently.
The ability of a specialist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) to provide multidisciplinary and multimodal care, as well as the ability to focus on patient function and the patient as a whole separates the physiatrist from other medical specialties. It is what makes the physiatrist a unique provider of medical care.