Meet Physical Medicine And Rehabilitation Specialist Dr. Pooja Mundrati
Dr. Mundrati treats musculoskeletal back pain with a focus on patient education and quality of life.
Physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist Dr. Pooja Mundrati credits her mother for her early interest in the sciences. “My mother had a Ph.D. in zoology,” says Dr. Mundrati. “From the time I was little, I was telling people to brush their teeth and giving them other health-related advice I’d heard from my mom. My family would joke that I was the little doctor. I also had a good relationship with my pediatrician. Perhaps it’s no surprise that I chose medicine as my career.”
Dr. Mundrati emphasizes patient education
Dr. Mundrati’s approach to medicine is grounded in a philosophy of education and empowerment. “Part of my job is to supply information so patients can make good health decisions,” she explains. “I have always believed that information is key. It’s important to me that my patients understand their condition. I try to avoid information overload. I communicate as clearly and helpfully as possible. I also try to ask questions to make sure they understand. We know that with every doctor visit, patients are trying to digest a lot of new information.”
Informed choices reflect medical information and personal values
“Making good choices is about understanding how medical options can reflect individual priorities,” says Dr. Mundrati. “When my patients understand their condition, they can make informed healthcare decisions that incorporate their personal priorities and values. One patient’s preferred choice might not be what’s best for another person.”
Dr. Mundrati focuses on patient quality of life
“Protecting my patients’ quality of life compels me,” she says. “My physical medicine and rehab practice embraces this value. This is a subspecialty that addresses the issues patients face following an acute injury or with exacerbations of chronic conditions. Rehabilitation issues include things like amputee care, spinal cord injury, musculoskeletal injuries, and traumatic brain injury. I chose to do a fellowship and specialize in interventional spine.”
Musculoskeletal medicine provides an array of treatment options
“I sit down and talk with my patients,” explains Dr. Mundrati. “I get a sense from them about how much pain they are in, how serious their injury is, and what options are appropriate for them. Among those appropriate options, I help each patient come up with the best treatment plan for him or her. For some people, their pain is like an onion. You peel back one layer after addressing it with a specific treatment and then there is another layer, which may require something else.”
Dr. Mundrati values having a wide variety of treatment options for her patients. She lists some of the interventional treatments she offers:
- Physical therapy
- Surgical referrals
Dr. Mundrati addresses patient questions about nontraditional options
“Sometimes, patients also have questions about things like acupuncture, chiropractic, or even yoga or Pilates,” she says. “I’m happy to address these questions. Medical care has very individualized aspects for each patient. I welcome the opportunity to discuss a wide range of treatment options with my patients. I offer options, and I come up with a plan based on expressed preferences, the questions patients ask me, and the guidance that they expect of me.”
Dr. Mundrati’s definition of success
“I love it when a patient is feeling better, has improved quality of life and restored function, and is moving in the right direction,” she says. “Other times, success is about helping patients understand what’s going on. Sometimes, simply understanding your condition can give you peace of mind. Still, it’s awesome when a patient turns the corner after experiencing pain.”
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