A 25-year-old man named Carlos consulted his MSR-supported PM&R specialist after he had sustained a left elbow injury secondary to a work related accident. He was hospitalized and underwent left elbow surgery for repair of a distal humerus bone fracture.
Carlos reported left elbow pain and limitations in range of motion. On initial evaluation, he had swelling along the medial and lateral aspect of the left elbow with diminished range of motion of left elbow pain. The physiatrist placed Carlos on conservative physical therapy treatment in the form of electric stimulation application for pain relief followed by active and active assisted range of motion exercises to improve range of motion and prevent any elbow contractures.
Carlos participated in outpatient physical therapy treatment under the supervision of his physiatrist for eight months, after which he had attained full active range of motion of the left elbow, as well as full pronation/supination of the forearm. This was due to his ongoing physical therapy treatment in the form of heating modalities, as well as electric stimulation followed by range of motion and theraband isotonics strengthening exercises of left elbow and forearm muscles.
The physiatrist treated Carlos's pain with Motrin with good results. At the time of his discharge, Carlos was gainfully employed and his physiatrist advised him to continue with a home physiatric exercise program consisting of range of motion and isotonic strengthening exercises of left elbow flexors and extensors, as well as left forearm pronator, left elbow supinators.
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.
Case study by Joseph Gregorace, D.O.
Sports Medicine & Spine Rehabilitation, P.C.