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Thread: Rehab dr. visits

  1. #1
    Senior Member landrover's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Philadelphia, Pa

    Rehab dr. visits

    Up until recently I did not have a primary doctor. If I got sick I would visit the local urgent care center. If it was worse then that, the ER. For all my regular prescriptions, my SCI doctor (physiatrist) would write/renew them. I was typically seen once a year (at Magee Rehab, Philadelphia), more their requirement then my need. Just recently the office called to inform me that I had last been there in 2015. Which led me to wonder, how often does everyone visit their SCI doctor?

  2. #2
    Senior Member tprewitt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    OFallon, MO, USA
    Once a year if no new issues.

  3. #3
    I get the impression, reading these forums for years, that many spinal cord injured do not have a physiatrist. Finding a physiatrist who is versed in spinal cord injury is difficult, since most of them seem to specialize in workers compensation cases and short term physical rehabilitation, not the long term issues of living with a spinal cord injury disability.

    When I was injured in 1982, my rehabilitation cadre of physicians did not include a physiatrist. The lead doctor on the team was a neurologist. Seven years later, I moved to northern California and I found a physiatrist. That association was good while it lasted. He sold his practice and moved out of the area. The physiatrist who bought the practice was very young, but did have spinal cord injury experience. After 2 years, he closed the practice and moved away. In both cases, I only saw these doctors once a year and had a good primary care and other specialists. After all the intervening years, I found a physiatrist who practices at a major teaching hospital 2 hours away. She has 5 years experience in spinal cord rehabilitation at a VA hospital and has been in her current position for 3 years.

    This year, I will see her twice, mostly because I am a new patient, so I've had an initial consultation and will have a follow up appointment.

    I've been pretty successful in finding primary care/family physicians who have taken an interest in cases like mine and they have been willing to learn from me and research for me. My current primary care is local, 20 minutes away, and NL and I go to him for most everything, I see a urologist once a year, an endocrinologist once a year, a nephrologist once a year, and my on oncologist every 6 months.

  4. #4
    I have seen a physiatrist once (after rehab) in ten years.

  5. #5
    Only when there is a specific issue. I know much more about my condition than the local doctors and PTs. In the past, I saw a physiatrist and PT/OT in Denver once a year, but it's too hard to make the drive now.
    MS with cervical and thoracic cord lesions

  6. #6
    Senior Member Lone Beagle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Christiansburg, VA
    I happen to have a very good physiatrist with a lot of training and experience with SCI. Not bad for out in the boonies! I also have excellent funding through worker's comp. The rehab clinic recommends every three months which I do since it is 11 miles and no out of pocket.

  7. #7
    Senior Member NW-Will's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Vancouver WA USA - - Male T4 ASIA B incomplete
    I've ended up with 3 doctors !
    A physiatrist.
    A primary care doctor
    A pain doctor

    I have to see each of them at least once a year or I get kicked off their list !! seems like a scam, but after getting kicked off the pain doctors list I learnt my lesson as it took 18 months to get back on and get an appointment with him. So now I play along and pretty much end up going in every 7 months with each of them !! To double down when you go in they barely have 30 seconds to actually pay any attention to you.

  8. #8
    Keep in mind that some physicians (physiatrists, urologists, internal medicine, etc.) have a second board certification in Spinal Cord Medicine. These physicians have additional training and education in management of the health of people with both acute and chronic SCI. Most are physiatrists, and now days they must have completed a fellowship (post-residency training) in SCI care. You can find out if a physician you are considering is board certified (including SCI Medicine) at this website:

    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

  9. #9
    i see mine every year or unless my spasticity get out of control and we have to try different things again.
    T6 Incomplete due to a Spinal cord infarction July 2009

  10. #10
    Senior Member canuck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    BC Canada
    I only see a PM&R doctor when my family medicine dr. or specialists are stumped. I've been lucky to have family medicine dr.'s who are used to dealing with complex patients. As I've said before in Canada by and large even our specialists are generalists especially outside major population centers.. The area I live in the hospital has a catchment of about 100,000 up until 3 years ago there was 1 urologists serving that population. So the Dr.s are used to seeing a bit of everything and have the ability to handle the day to day issues. Example you would see a family medicine dr. referring somebody that has a uti to a urologist. they would see them if a underlying issue was suspected but not to treat a infection.

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