The Role of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in Resolving Pain and Pain Management

Person doing exercise with resistance band as physical therapist watches

Chronic pain can be caused by a range of medical conditions, and it may limit a person’s activities and impact their everyday life. Luckily, there are tools for pain management that can help decrease pain levels and improve a person’s quality of life. Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics (CNSO) is a multi-specialty provider of high-quality medical care, including spine surgery, physical therapy, and pain management, to patients throughout northern New Jersey. Here, CNSO discusses the role of physical medicine and rehabilitation in resolving pain, limiting or eliminating pain, and avoiding the reoccurrence of musculoskeletal or nerve related pain.

What Is Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R)?

Many patients struggling with acute or chronic pain are looking for other treatment options besides rest, opiate medications, chronically taking Advil, or other NSAIDs or surgeries. One alternative for either acute or chronic pain relief and management is physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R). Physical medicine and rehabilitation consist of a doctor, trained in musculoskeletal and neurological biomechanics, who prescribes exercises and treatments used to improve painful or limiting medical conditions. PM&R treatments aim to reduce pain levels, restore function, and improve range of motion.

PM&R physicians, also known as physiatrists, evaluate and treat injuries, disabilities, and illnesses using conservative treatments, often helping patients avoid surgery. They take a patient-centered approach, focusing on the whole person and addressing different physical, emotional, and social needs.

What Conditions Can Be Helped by Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation?

Physical medicine and rehabilitation can be used to ease symptoms caused by a wide range of conditions, whether they are musculoskeletal, neurological, or rheumatological. PM&R also can help manage pain and improve movement in patients suffering from traumatic injuries. Conditions that can benefit from PM&R treatment include:

These are just some of the conditions that can be improved with physical medicine and rehabilitation. Patients who are dealing with chronic pain should ask their physician about physical medicine and rehabilitation and whether it can help manage their pain.

What Techniques Are Used in PM&R?

The focus of PM&R is to diagnose and decrease or eliminate the cause of pain. A physiatrist also increases a patient’s independence and ability to manage symptoms and pain, therefore improving their quality of life. PM&R physicians develop customized treatment plans for each patient, depending on their goals, limitations, other medical conditions, and lifestyle. Some techniques that physiatrists use on patients include:

  • Manual stretching: Manual stretching is used to improve range of motion and flexibility.
  • Massage: Massage can be used to relieve tension and pain in affected areas.
  • Physical therapy: Physical therapyhelps patients increase muscle strength and regain function and range of motion.
  • Guided relaxation and mindfulness: Guided relaxation and mindfulness can be used to focus on the emotional components of a patient’s life.
  • Orthotics: Orthotics are devices such as splints or braces that help to increase stability and prevent injuries.
  • Medications: Pain medications may be prescribed, as well as medications for mood, sleep, and many other issues.
  • Injections: Injectionsin the joints, spine, or soft tissue can be used to relieve pain and inflammation.

Physiatrists also work closely with other medical professionals, often using an interdisciplinary approach, to provide coordinated care that best helps the patient meet their goals.


Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics provides patients across northern New Jersey with physical medicine and rehabilitation services. Using personalized treatment plans and state-of-the-art technology, CNSO helps patients regain function and mobility while reducing pain. Treatment plans can be tailored to specific areas, including:

  • Pain management
  • Mobility
  • Self-care
  • Communication skills
  • Cognitive skills

These methods can be adapted to patients of different abilities and skill levels. CNSO has a comprehensive and highly skilled team of specialists that includes:

  • Neurosurgeons
  • Orthopedic spine surgeons
  • Interventional pain management physicians
  • Physiatrists
  • Rehabilitation specialists
  • Certified physical therapists

The CNSO team takes an integrative approach, collaborating to assure outstanding, patient-centered care.

Request an Appointment for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Physical medicine and rehabilitation help patients struggling with acute pain and chronic pain achieve pain relief and freedom from movement limitations. The dedicated multi-specialty team at Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine and Orthopedics is well-equipped to provide customized and complete treatment plans for each patient. CNSO offers multiple convenient locations across northern New Jersey, including Bergen, Passaic, Essex, Morris, and Hudson counties. Request an appointment today to discuss physical medicine and rehabilitation.

Centers for Neurosurgery Spine & Orthopedics