What is a Physiatrist?

November 9th, 2022  Topics: Orthopaedics

When you visit Upper Bucks Orthopaedics at Grand View Health, you probably expect to see orthopaedic surgeons and sports medicine physicians. You’ll also meet another specialist that you might not be expecting — a physiatrist. But what is a physiatrist, and how can he help you?

“I tell people I’m a non-operative physical medicine physician who manages acute to chronic musculoskeletal conditions,” says Ali Shah, MD, a board-certified, fellowship-trained physiatrist who joined the Upper Bucks Orthopaedics team in late summer 2022.

While some physiatrists work inside the hospital, Dr. Shah specializes exclusively on outpatient care. “I chose to work in the outpatient setting because I enjoy interacting with patients one-on-one,” he says. In addition to holding a medical degree and completing an internship and residency, he completed a fellowship in interventional spine and musculoskeletal medicine with the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

Dr. Shah cares for patients ages 18 and older. He cares for patients with arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, herniated discs, pinched nerves in the neck or back (or other neck and back pain), sciatica, sports injuries and work injuries. He uses X-rays and MRIs to help deliver accurate diagnoses. He also performs nerve conduction studies and electromyography (EMG) to help diagnose nerve damage or disease.

People with orthopaedic conditions rely on a physiatrist for non-surgical treatments. These may include epidural steroid injections (interlaminar and transforaminal), nerve blocks, sacroiliac joint injections, trigger point injections, and hip and bursal injections. In addition, Dr. Shah is skilled at radiofrequency ablation, a minimally invasive procedure that ablates or burns nerve fibers.

Dr. Shah also offers non-opioid medical management for pain. He can provide home exercise programs to strengthen back and neck muscles, and he will refer patients to physical therapy when needed.

Dr. Shah currently rotates between Upper Bucks Orthopaedics locations in Harleysville in Pennsburg.

Dr. Shah attended medical school in Philadelphia. “I chose to work at Grand View Health because of my fondness for the community and its people,” he says. “I’m also impressed with Grand View Health’s growth and upward trajectory.”

To make an appointment with Dr. Shah, call 215-257-3700.