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Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

Hedley Orthopaedic Institute offers a full range of physical medicine and rehabilitation services to patients in Tempe and Phoenix, Arizona. Non-surgical diagnostics and treatments are made available through Dr. Walter Calvin Damper, board-certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

What is physical medicine and rehabilitation?

Physical medicine and rehabilitation doctors (also known as “physiatrists”) use new technologies and well-established medical practices to treat conditions of the brain, nerves, spinal cord, muscles, ligaments, joints, and tendons. Physiatrists focus on maximizing their patients’ abilities and improving quality of life through treatment. At Hedley Orthopaedic Institute, physical medicine and rehab is patient-centric, meaning the physicians and medical staff work with patients to develop unique treatment plans on a case-by-case basis.

Who should see a PM&R physician?

Following an injury or the diagnosis of an illness, your primary care physician may refer you to a PM&R physician. Reasons to see a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist include:

  • Recovering from a stroke
  • Recovering from surgery
  • Suffering from chronic pain (arthritis, back pain, repetitive stress injury, etc.)
  • Recovering from an accident or injury that has caused chronic pain and/or limited your physical abilities
  • Unable to exercise because of obesity, age, or injury
  • Physical changes (childbirth, menopause, osteoarthritis, etc.) have restricted your abilities

Whatever the reason for your visit may be, your PM&R physician at Hedley Orthopaedic Institute will thoroughly evaluate your condition, review your patient outcome desires and expectations, and develop a treatment plan that works for you.

Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Services

Select a test or treatment below to learn more. Additional services may be available.

EMGs, Electrodiagnostic studies, Nerve conduction studies

Patients who have symptoms such as tingling, numbness, or muscle cramping, pain, or weakness may be candidates for electromyography (also known as “EMG,” electrodiagnostic study, and nerve conduction study). The purpose of this test is to discover problems with nerve dysfunction, muscle dysfunction, and signal transmission between nerves and muscles. During EMG, a needle electrode is inserted into a muscle to record muscle contractions and electrical signals. Nerve Conduction Study is another component of this test; in this study, electrodes are taped to the skin and used to measure the speed and strength of electric signals as they travel through the body.

Fluoroscopic guided spinal/joint injections, Ultrasound guided joint, muscle and nerve injections

Joint, muscle, or nerve injections may be prescribed for a wide range of conditions, including neck and back pain, joint pain, tennis/golfer’s elbow, heel pain, and more. The injection may contain corticosteroids, hyaluronic acid, or an anesthetic. In many instances, a physician will use fluoroscopic or ultrasound guidance to place the needle precisely where it should go for maximum effectiveness. In the fluoroscopic approach, a “real-time” x-ray machine is used to visualize the patient’s anatomy and needle placement, allowing the physician to have an insider view of the injection site. In some cases, a special dye is injected into the region to enhance visibility. In the ultrasound approach, the physician uses ultrasound waves to accurately administer the injection. Learn more about joint injections. 

Platelet-rich plasma injections

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection is a natural therapy that takes advantage of the body’s own healing abilities. During this non-surgical procedure, the physician takes a basic blood draw. The blood is placed in a centrifuge to separate the platelets and plasma from the red blood cells. The isolated platelet-rich plasma is then injected back into the patient at the injury site. A high concentration of platelets loaded with growth factors stimulate the body’s natural healing and recovery processes. At Hedley Orthopaedic Institute, PRP injections may be used to treat stress fractures, cartilage injuries (including osteoarthritis), and injuries of the muscles, tendons, or ligaments. Learn more.

Trigger point injections

Trigger point injection (TPI) is a therapy used for treating muscle pain. In this procedure (primarily used for patients suffering chronic or severe muscle pain), a needle is inserted into “trigger points,” knots in injured or overworked muscles. The needle may contain steroids or anesthetics; in some cases, a dry needling technique is used. TPI may be used in the arms, legs, neck, lower back, and in the treatment of tension headaches and fibromyalgia. Learn more.

Prolotherapy injections

Prolotherapy, also known as “Regenerative Injection Therapy,” is a technique that attempts to maximize the body’s own healing abilities. In this procedure, a substance is injected directly into an injured area of muscle tissue. This injection causes inflammation, which promotes the growth of new blood vessels and ultimately strengthens the damaged tissue. Prolotherapy is most commonly used in treating back pain.

Detailed physical therapy prescription

One of the benefits of seeing a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist is that in addition to offering in-office treatment options, the PM&R physician is able to write detailed physical therapy prescriptions. Your physician at Hedley Orthopaedic Institute may prescribe a physical therapy routine that complements the in-office treatments you receive or that may even make invasive therapies unnecessary.

Osteopathic manipulative therapies

Also known as OMT, this therapy involves a trained D.O. stretching the body, applying gentle pressure, and using resistance to treat muscle pain and other injuries. When appropriately prescribed and administered, OMT can be very effective in complementing (or even eliminating the need for) pharmaceutical and surgical therapy. OMT can treat abnormalities in the vertebrae and muscles, relieve joint pain, and help move bodily fluids.

Radio frequency ablation (spine, hip and knee)

Radio frequency ablation (RFA) is a time-tested procedure that’s used for treating neck and back pain caused by degenerative conditions (such as arthritis) or injury/trauma. In this drug-free, steroid-free procedure, fluoroscopy is used to guide a needle to the painful branch nerves, which are the source of the patient’s neck or back pain. The needle emits an intense direct heat, effectively ablating the nerves, rendering them unable to transmit pain signals to the brain. Learn more.


A discogram (also known as discography) is a diagnostic procedure used to locate the source of lower back pain. During this procedure, a needle is inserted into spinal discs under fluoroscopic guidance. If the test is positive (i.e. the patient experiences discomfort during a probe), then it is likely that the probed disc is the source of lower back pain. Learn more.

Spinal cord stimulators

Patients with upper and lower body pain caused by problems in the spine may benefit from a spinal cord stimulator (SCS) implant. An SCS implant is sometimes described as a “pacemaker for the spine.” The device, which is implanted just beneath the skin above the upper buttock or abdomen, emits electrical currents that neutralize pain signals sent from the spinal cord to the brain. This procedure may be recommended for patients with failed back surgery syndrome, diabetic neuropathy, or complex regional pain syndrome. Learn more.

Schedule a PM&R Appointment In Phoenix or Tempe

For more information about services, or to schedule an appointment with a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist in Phoenix or Tempe, please contact us.



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