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Physical medicine and rehabilitation

Physical and rehabilitation medicine is an independent branch of medicine concerned with the development of physical and cognitive functions, activities (including behaviour), participation (including quality of life), modification of personal and environment factors. Hence, rehabilitation is responsible for prophylaxis, diagnosis, treatment, and organization and management of rehabilitation activities for persons with diseases causing functioning disorders and side diseases in all age groups.     

Rehabilitation specialists use a holistic approach to patients with acute and chronic conditions – musculoskeletal and neurological disorders, amputations, dysfunction of pelvic organs and other functioning disorders up to chronic pain and tumours.

Tasks of physical and rehabilitation medicine:

  • Treatment and prevention of disease/injury;
  • Reduction of damage and/or inability;
  • Prevention and treatment of complications;
  • Improvement of activities and functioning;
  • Promotion of participation.

Specialists of the Clinic of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine provide services to in-patients and out-patients of the hospital. Therapy performed by the multi-professional team for patients with functioning disorders after acute diseases or injuries is a modern patient-oriented and result-oriented approach that improves treatment and rehabilitation results.

Our specialists can help:

  • in case of different diseases of bones, joints and muscles: for instance, joint arthrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, different spine diseases, after joint endoprosthetics, etc.;
  • during the recovery period after different injuries;
  • in case of diseases and injuries of the nervous system: for instance, consequences of cerebral circulation disorders (stroke), infant cerebral palsy, consequences of traumatic damages of the spinal cord and the brain, polyneuropathies, spasticity, etc.
  • in case of diseases of the cardiovascular system: for instance, during the recovery period after myocardial infarction and different heart surgeries;
  • in case of diseases of the respiratory system: for instance, bronchial asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, after lung and larynx surgeries, etc.
  • in improving the health (prevention of diseases and injuries);
  • in assessing and adjusting environment accessibility;
  • in selecting an appropriate technical aid and in training on using it, as well as in many other cases.

In departments of the Clinic of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine you can receive the following services:

  • Consultations with the doctor for physical and rehabilitation medicine;
  • Consultations with functional specialists and activities (both individual and in groups);
  • Physiotherapist (assistant physiotherapist);
  • Ergotherapist;
  • Speech-language pathologist;
  • Clinical psychologist;
  • Art therapist;
  • Physical medicine treatments;
  • Massage.

Specialists of physical and rehabilitation medicine use the following treatment and rehabilitation methods in their work:

Physical therapy

A physiotherapist is a medical person, a functional specialist who assesses physical and functional condition of a person, analyses its effect on person’s routine activities (incl. work) and relation to the well-being (e.g. pain). After careful examination and assessment of the patient during the consultation, therapeutic aims are set and appropriate therapy methods acceptable for the patient are selected together with the patient (if required, also by involving relatives, for instance, for children).

In order to assess physical and functional condition of the patient, a physiotherapist uses different assessment methods in his/her work; the following may be named as the main methods: analysis of the posture and manner of walking, measurements and analysis of the amount and quality of movements, assessment of the functions of muscles (strength, length, durability), balance and coordination tests, analysis of motor control, assessment of body-feeling and consciousness, assessment and analysis of breathing functions, as well as different special tests.

During the treatment process, a physiotherapist uses both active and passive therapy methods. Active participation of the patient in the treatment process is an important precondition for successful physical therapy.  Specific active exercises prescribed by the physiotherapist will have to be performed independently. The following may be mentioned as the main physiotherapeutic treatment methods: therapeutic exercises (both active and passive; with different aims (e.g., for improving functions of muscles, improving breathing functions, promotion of body-feeling), with or without different devices), balance and coordination training, relaxation techniques, positioning, mobilization of soft tissues and joints, special therapies: Bobath therapy, PNF, physical factors (cold and heat applications, ultrasound, TENS, etc.), training on using auxiliary devices, and work-out, etc.

The scope of physiotherapist’s activity also covers health promotion and prevention of diseases. Correctly selected and balanced physical activities are crucial methods of physical therapy in reducing (preventing) both cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, as well as adiposity. Correctly performed active exercises can reduce muscle and joint tension that occurred as a result of everyday rush, and maintain sufficient strength and length of muscles, which will later allow avoiding discomfort, pain and problems in joints. Timely discovered and corrected posture disorders in children of school age allow avoiding serious problems at a later stage of development.

Physiotherapists successfully operate in promoting the health of pregnant women and young mothers, as well as promote harmonious development of children.

Treatment methods of physical medicine are used in acute and chronic phase of diseases. Physical therapy factors affect the organism through the skin, respiratory tract, tissues and organs, as a result of which:

  • the pain reduces;
  • inflammation reduces;
  • impaired functions of organs are normalized;
  • resistance abilities of the organism increase.

Physical medicine treatments:

Ultrasound – a widely used method; in case of diseases of the respiratory tract, arthritis, ligament tension, carpal tunnels, spondylosis, after disc hernia surgeries, diseases of ENT organs, bone osteophytes (spurs).

Amplipulse therapy – analgesic action; diseases and injuries of the locomotor system.

Microwave therapy – anti-inflammatory analgesic action; postoperative infiltrates, chronic inflammations (bruises, strains), slow-healing wounds, chronic diseases of the respiratory tract, bone osteophytes (spurs).

Magnet therapy – wide application; it promotes trophism in tissues; has sedative effect, expanding blood vessels; arthrosis.

Darsonvalization – improves skin flexibility, blood circulation next to varicose expansions of veins in the legs, next to non-healing wounds. Used in cosmetics – smoothens small wrinkles, lines; as well as in cases of hear loss.

Laser therapy – has analgesic anti-inflammatory action; arthritis, arthrosis, trophic ulcer, non-healing wounds, trigeminal neuralgia, etc.


Massage is balanced, mechanical impact on the body, using different techniques – frottage, rubbing, kneading, vibration; tissues are gently, medium-gently and strongly mechanically stimulated. There are various types of massage distinguished, which differ in technique and achieved effect.

Massage affects the nervous and cardiovascular system, joints and muscles, promotes lymph circulation and blood circulation; as a result, the process of metabolism improves, muscle pain is reduced, restoration of the organism after physical and mental load increases.

Massage is recommended in the following cases:

  • muscle tension and soreness;
  • limited mobility of joints;
  • headaches, tension;
  • sleep disturbance;
  • mental and physical tiredness, etc.


Ergotherapy is a health care profession based on knowledge about purposeful activities, the main aim of which is to promote participation of an individual in everyday activities, as well as health and well-being in all aspects of life.

Ergotherapy comprises assessment, treatment and cooperation with the patient, his/her family, friends and carers. In most of the cases, an ergotherapist cooperates with other rehabilitation specialists – works in a multi-professional team.

Upon starting his/her work with the patient, an ergotherapist assesses person’s ability to perform daily activities, physical, cognitive and communication skills, as well as obtains information about the physical environment – conditions of the place of residence, dwelling, place of work or school, and social environment – family, friends, schoolmates, colleagues, etc.

The main task of an ergotherapist is to help in obtaining/regaining skills that allow the patient to be independent in his/her daily activities.

In his/her work, an ergotherapist uses activities that are important and significant for the patient – their aim is to delay the progress of disease, development of disability, and to promote independency of an individual in daily activities. An ergotherapist helps people in adapting to new conditions, by reducing or eliminating environmental obstacles. Ergotherapists teach patients to use technical auxiliary devices in daily activities, adjust them, and produce hand braces from special materials.

Speech-language pathology

A speech-language pathologist is a certified medical person that performs assessment, diagnostics, correction and rehabilitation of communication abilities, speech/language, phonation and swallowing disorders for persons of any age that have different speech, language, voice and swallowing disorders, as well as trains the patient and his/her relatives.

Art therapy

An art therapist is a medical person. An art therapist works in the field of health, social care or education with the clients or patients who have somatic, mental disorders or psychological difficulties.  An art therapist works at a medical treatment institution and is directly involved in ensuring of health care process; he/she carries out his/her professional activity in a multi-professional or multi-disciplinary team. An art therapist may also work with people who wish to promote their personality growth, to promote team unity in organizations, etc.

 You are welcome to the departments of the Clinic of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine!

Clinic’s personnel has many years of experience in provision of physical and rehabilitation medicine services in acute and chronic phase of diseases or injuries. Supervision of treatment and research activity of the clinic is carried out by the Chief Specialist for Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, professor Aivars Vētra.

  • When arriving for consultation with a doctor or a functional specialist, a referral of the family doctor or specialist, excerpts, examination results are required.
  • When arriving to a class with a functional specialist, convenient clothes and stable footwear are required.
  • The payment for the service (according to the approved RECUH price-list) takes place at a cash-desk in cash or with a bank card, prior to the consultation or class.

Where to find?

In-patient Department “Centre of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases”

Department of Physical Medicine

In-patient Department “Biķernieki”

Department of Rehabilitation

Latvian Children's Hearing Centre

In-patient Department “Gaiļezers”

Clinic of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine

Last update: 2014.08.08 - 12:46