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Physiatry's Focus on the Whole Person and Collaborative Care is an Ideal Rx for Neuropathic Pain


According to physical medicine and rehabilitation physician Saloni Sharma, MD, treatment for neuropathic pain draws on PM&R's many strengths.

Neuropathic pain is "really a collection of diagnoses," physiatrist Saloni Sharma, MD, said in a recent interview with Patient Care, and that contributes to the challenge in treating it. It may be a straightforward problem, such as nerve compression that can be relieved using physical therapy or surgery if necessary. Or the etiology may be less obvious, as in cases of centrally mediated pain, where often a multidisciplinary approach to pain relief will be needed.

"I think that's where PM&R [physical medicine and rehabilitation] really shines," Sharma said, emphasizing that care coordination is central to the physical medicine and rehabilitation physician's role in helping patients regain function.

Sharma, an assistant professor of rehabilitation medicine at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, spoke further about collaborative care and about the focus during treatment on patient self-management and developing coping skills.

Saloni Sharma, MD, is assistant professor of rehabilitation medicine and medical director of the Orthopaedic Integrative Health Center at the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA. Sharma is also the co-chair of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation PM&R BOLD Pain Management and Spine Rehabilitation Practice Area.

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