Q&A with OrthoTexas Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Specialists: Dr. Gregory Powell & Dr. Aine McKenzie

What makes someone a good candidate to see a Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation physician and when should they see an orthopedist?

McKenzie: Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) physicians, also known as physiatrists, treat a wide variety of disabling medical conditions non-surgically. Most orthopedist are surgeons. If an individual has a condition requiring surgery, then they should consult with an orthopedist.

What are some signs or symptoms that would make a patient a good candidate for an EMG?

McKenzie: Electrodiagnostic testing, also known as EMG, is a test performed by a PM&R physician in the office. This test is usually ordered when someone is showing signs or symptoms of a muscle or nerve disorder. These signs or symptoms may include pain, tingling, numbness or weakness of the extremities. An EMG can help diagnose muscle disorders, nerve disorders and disorders affecting the connection between nerves and muscles.

What is a rhizotomy?

Powell: A rhizotomy, also known as radiofrequency ablation, is often performed in the spine for the treatment of chronic pain from osteoarthritis or trauma. This is a non-operative technique that involves the use of no medications and can provide significant pain relief for certain conditions. This technique is also being used for the treatment of chronic knee pain in patients who have failed to respond to surgery.

What is an ESI?

Powell: An epidural steroid injection, or ESI, is commonly performed in the neck or low back for treatment of pain from a herniated disc or pinched nerve. This treatment can provide significant pain relief to allow a patient to avoid surgery and get back to activity. Recent research suggests that 80% of patients can demonstrate significant improvement in their pain through this technique.

What ages do you treat and what is your goal when treating patients?

McKenzie & Powell: Physiatrists treat a diverse age range including children, adolescents, and adults. Our goal when treating patients is to provide high-quality non-operative diagnosis and treatment of painful musculoskeletal conditions of the extremities or spine. We want to see our patients restore function and maintain a good quality of life.

What are the advantages in your practice of working with a large group of orthopedic surgeons?

Powell: One of the distinct advantages of practicing in a large group of orthopedic surgeons is the wide variety of subspecialists that we have. OrthoTexas has physicians who specialize in neck and spine, shoulder and elbow, hand and wrist, hip and knees, foot and ankle, and sports medicine. This allows patients to be seen for all conditions within the practice for an integrated care experience.