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In 2002, Decatur Orthopaedic Clinic became the first orthopaedic group in the Tennessee Valley to add a specialist in the field of physiatry, that is physical medicine and rehabilitation. Dr. Russell Ellis is certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and also has advanced training in sports medicine. He specializes in non-surgical management of musculoskeletal problems. As a physiatrist, Dr. Ellis is concerned with social, vocational and medical rehabilitation as well as in increasing the quality of life for patients. After returning a patient to maximum function, Dr. Ellis also emphasizes how to prevent future injuries.

To determine the cause of a patient’s pain, weakness or numbness and then to structure an individualized treatment plan, Dr. Ellis uses the same advanced diagnostic tools as the other physicians at Decatur Orthopaedic Clinic along with additional techniques in electromyography and nerve conduction studies. These procedures measure the electrical discharges of the muscles and how well individual nerves can transmit electrical signals.

Physiatrists do not perform surgery, but they do perform various procedures including peripheral joint injection, trigger point injections and outpatient epidural steroid injections. They also prescribe medications, functional braces, orthotics and prosthetics, as well as hot and cold therapies, traction, therapeutic exercise, electrotherapy and ultrasound for muscles.