The history of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation dates back to written accounts of physical techniques for healing in 400 B.C. and since the beginning of time people have used physical means such as water, heat, cold, massage, light and exercise for treatment of injuries and illness. Since then, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation has come a long way but its history can help you better understand what exactly this medical specialty is and how it could help you.

During and after World War I, physicians began practicing “physiotherapy” in “reconstruction hospitals” to rehabilitate injured and disabled soldiers. Therapeutic methods and tools were developed and improved and the physicians pioneered new applications of electrotherapeutics and x-rays. The American Medical Association Council on Physical Therapy and the American Society of Physical Therapy Physicians were formed in the 1920s.

Formal education for Physiatry began in 1926 after Dr. John Coulter joined the faculty of Northwestern University Medical School as the first full-time academic physician in physical medicine after he served in the Army during World War I. He became the leader of the educational development of the practice of physical medicine initiating the first continuing teaching program.

In 1941 the US involvement in World War II began which broadened the focus of Physical Medicine to become a comprehensive restoration of a patient’s capabilities as injured soldiers returned home for treatment. The Baruch committee was established in 1943 to study physical medicine, develop way to expand the field, and to contribute to the care of injured soldiers. In 1945 a section on Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation was established in the American Medical Association.

The Council of Physical Medicine voted to sponsor the term “physiatrist” as designation for physicians specializing in Physical Medicine in 1946. In January 1947, the Advisory Board of Medical Specialties (now the American Board of Medical Specialties) formally recognized the American Board of Physical Medicine. In the decades following education, residency programs, and the number of Board Certified Physiatrists flourished taking us to where we are today.

Performance Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine is an integrated medicine facility offering all services including pain management, physical therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and massage therapy. We are proud to have a team of dedicated health care professionals specializing in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Our Physiatrists are trained to diagnose, treat, and develop rehabilitation plans individualized to your personal needs to provide the best outcome for each of our patients. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is designed to treat a variety of conditions including:

  • Sports injuries
  • Work-related accidents
  • Back, knee or shoulder problems and other musculoskeletal disorders
  • Stroke
  • Multiple sclerosis and other neuromuscular or movement disorders
  • Effects of cancer treatment
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Amputations
  • Arthritis

Contact us for an appointment to learn more about what we can do for you.

Ron Spiaggia, D.C.


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