Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation


At the Division of Adult Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, we treat everyone from teenagers to older adults who are in pain or who are experiencing restricted mobility, communications deficits or other impairments caused by a physical condition. Our doctors of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, also known as physiatrists, treat you with alternatives to traditional, “open” surgery, sparing you the potential risks and pain that can accompany these surgical procedures.

Helping people with disabilities and injuries lead fulfilling lives

If you or a family member is disabled by a stroke, spinal cord injury or a neurologic disorder, such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy or Parkinson’s disease, our physiatrists can help because our specialty is caring for people with disabilities. We also treat common but debilitating problems such as chronic back pain, joint pain and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Our expertise, however, covers much more than your physical health. We treat your physical conditions and disabilities in the context of the other important areas of your life, taking into consideration your social, vocational and emotional well-being. No matter what problem you are experiencing, our singular focus is to minimize or eliminate your pain and get you back to enjoying the most rewarding and comfortable life possible.


Our expert physiatrists and the role they play

We collaborate with the other specialists on your care team, such as orthopaedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, neurologists and plastic surgeons, and clinicians such as physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists. The role we play in your care, however, differs from those of other specialists. We are there to guide you through every step of your rehabilitation, monitor your progress closely and adjust your treatment plan along the way to help you gain the maximum benefits from your therapy.

Our physiatrists are board-certified physicians who have chosen to specialize in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation because they are passionate about helping people who suffer from pain and disabilities enjoy the best quality of life, especially by employing alternatives to surgery. (If you and your doctor determine that surgery is the best treatment option, your Tufts Medical Center physiatrist will be an important member of your care team before and after your procedure and throughout your rehabilitation.)

Many of our physiatrists have backgrounds in multiple specialties, a strength that enables them to take a holistic approach to diagnosing and treating your condition. This multidisciplinary spirit is embodied in the Chief of our Adult Physiatry Division, Heidi Wennemer, DO, who is board-certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Spinal Cord Injury Medicine and Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine. Dr. Wennemer’s unique and specialized training enables her to treat patients efficiently and effectively by drawing on knowledge from multiple disciplines.

For example, severely disabled people often suffer from skin ulcers that fail to heal properly. In such a case, Dr. Wennemer can oversee the patient’s rehabilitation while also treating his or her wound at our hospital’s Center for Vascular, Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine. Such in-depth knowledge of a patient’s complete picture of health, including medical history, individual goals and factors such as previous surgeries and other treatments, means the patient receives comprehensive, continuous care from one doctor, a rarity in most medical specialties.

Joining Dr. Wennemer on her team are several accomplished physiatrists whose success in treating patients stems in part from their rich educational backgrounds and clinical interests. One such doctor is Rina Bloch, MD, who is board-certified in both Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and in Electrodiagnostic Medicine and has earned a subspecialty certification in the treatment of spinal cord injury. In 2012, Dr. Bloch was named a “Top Doctor” by Boston Magazine and ranked in the top 1% in the specialty of Physiatry by US News and World Report.

Why Should I Choose the Physiatry Team at Tufts Medical Center?

In addition to the experience and skill of our physiatrists, our division is an excellent choice for rehabilitative care because:

  • We provide seamless continuity of care that extends from the hospital to inpatient settings for acute care.
  • Our physiatrists also provide continuity of care to patients whose next step is a sub-acute rehabilitation hospital, and several of our physiatrists are on the staff at Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital and New England Rehabilitation Hospital in Woburn, both of which are affiliated with Tufts Medical Center.
  • The Pediatric Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Division at Floating Hospital for Children is located at the Tufts Medical Center campus in Boston, offering a convenient, seamless transition to adult care for patients with cerebral palsy and other disorders requiring long-term or lifelong care.
  • Our division is the only one in Boston with a program whose doctors are trained in delivering three of today’s most effective therapies for spasticity management (Botox injections, phenol nerve blocks and intrathecal baclofen pump therapy).


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What is a physiatrist?

A physiatrist is a doctor who specializes in the field of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

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