Robin Raju, MD, is a physiatrist (a doctor who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation). Physiatrists treat problems with the muscles, joints, and nerves without surgery. They take a holistic approach to care, treating the “whole person,” with the understanding that pain and injury in one part of the body can impact other areas as well.
“Physiatry is a good first entry point for patients with musculoskeletal problems, especially if they aren’t sure what type of specialist to see,” Dr. Raju says. “I would say it’s the internal medicine of musculoskeletal care. If you have any joint issues—or any pain at all—a physiatrist will look not only at that problem, but at you as a whole person before formulating a treatment plan. It's a great specialty in the sense that we believe in an interdisciplinary approach to all musculoskeletal problems. Because there are different aspects to any diagnosis, whether they are physical, emotional, cognitive, or social, they all need to be addressed for a good overall recovery.”
The most common problem Dr. Raju sees is musculoskeletal pain, but he also treats chronic pain, overuse injuries, and sports and trauma-related problems. He may use such nonsurgical methods as medication, injections, physical therapy, and/or alternative modalities.
“It’s truly rewarding work,” Dr. Raju says. “I see patients when they are at one of the more difficult points in their life, and it’s rewarding to help them get better both physically and emotionally. It's truly an honor to lend them my ears and be able to help them along the recovery process.”
As an assistant professor of clinical orthopedics and rehabilitation at Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Raju focuses his research on regenerative medicine, including stem cells and biologics (treatments that have been found to stimulate musculoskeletal healing), and the effectiveness of various kinds of spine and joint injections.