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Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Pediatric rehabilitation


The Pediatric Rehabilitation Program offers care to children with congenital and acquired neurological and musculoskeletal diseases. Patients may have disorders such as cerebral palsy, brain injury, neurologic disorders, and congenital or acquired amputation. Pediatric Rehabilitation is provided through ambulatory clinics directed by a specialist in Pediatric Physiatry. A major component of the Pediatric Rehab program occurs at Shriners Hospital for Children, Northern California, directly adjacent to the UC Davis Medical Center.
Visit the Shriners Hospital website

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy is due to brain injury that may have occurred before, during or after birth and the injury to the brain may occur through a variety of causes. In the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation we are prepared to help the patient and their family in dealing with the symptoms that are associated with cerebral palsy. In addition, we have a Spasticity Clinic where we work closely with the child in dealing with spastic movements of the muscles.

Services and treatment available

Spasticity Clinic

Botulinum toxin (BOTOX) drug treatment which has proven to be effective in controlling decreasing rigidity and spasms in muscles. Baclofen pump which is a surgically implanted device which delivers Baclofen directly to the spinal cord. Selective posterior rhizotomy For further information on cerebral palsy the National Academy of Child Development offers an informative article for parents who want to learn about cerebral palsy including symptomatic diagnosis, spasticity, athetosis, and causes. If you would like information on botulinum toxin (BOTOX) the Miller-Dwan Medical Center Web site provides some information and frequently asked questions about BOTOX, baclofen pump and selective posterior rhizotomy. These three treatments may be available at the UC Davis Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and should be discussed in detail with a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation physician if you have any further questions or inquiries.


Functional restoration is achieved by therapies geared towards:

  • improving the functional capacity of affected systems and residual capacities of unaffected systems
  • providing orthotics/prosthetic devices, adaptive equipment, and assistive technology to help compensate for disabilities
  • teaching compensatory alternative strategies to achieve functional skills
  • training family and care providers
  • improving patient motivation and participation in therapeutic activities through behavioral and psychological strategies

Population served includes patients from birth to age 21 with any of the following impairments:

  • Brain injury
  • Multiple trauma
  • Deconditioning
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Spasticity
  • Acquired amputations and limb deficiencies
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Peripheral nerve disorders (e.g. Guillian Barre)
  • Other musculoskeletal and neurological disorders

Collaborative relationships:

  • Shriners Hospital for Children, Northern California
  • California Children's Services (CCS) Medical Therapy Program: providing medical direction for therapy services within eleven CCS medical therapy units (MTU's) across eight Northern California counties.
  • Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA)

The CCS paneled treatment team include the following members:

  • Nurse
  • Physical Therapist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Speech Pathologist
  • Neuropsychologist
  • Social Worker
  • Physician

Specialized services include the following:

  • Orthotics
  • Wheelchair and durable medical equipment assessments
  • Aquatic therapy
  • Neuropsychological testing
  • Cognitive rehabilitation
  • Developmental evaluations
  • Consults and specialty referraIs

Physician consultants at UC, Davis Medical Center include:

  • Pediatric orthopaedics
  • Child neurology
  • Pediatric neuro-urology
  • Pediatric neurosurgery and genetics
  • Other pediatric subspecialists

Referrals are also available for out-patient physicians and community pediatric support groups.


UC Davis Medical Center Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation maintains active federally funded research  programs in neuromuscular disease, therapeutic exercise and nutrition, pulmonary rehabilitation of restricted lung disease, swallowing disorders, body composition  analysis, and energy expenditure of locomotion in children. Other active areas of research  focus on spasticity management including pharmacological agents, botulinum toxin-A  (BOTOX  R), and intrathecal baclofen.

Contact and referral information

Health care professionals who wish to refer a patient to the UC Davis Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinic should call (800) 4-UCDAVIS or (800) 482-3284. Patients who would like more information about the clinic should call (916) 734-7041.