Meet the Team
Alyssa Marulli, MD, is a physiatrist specializing in interventional spine and musculoskeletal medicine. She treats patients with back and neck pain, joint disorders, and acute sports injuries at MossRehab Elkins Park, Tabor Road, and Norriton.
Can you discuss your background and training?
I attended the University of Toledo for medical school and completed my residency at the University of Pennsylvania. I also completed a fellowship at MossRehab in spine and sports medicine, enhancing my knowledge of musculoskeletal disorders and mastering minimally invasive spine and ultrasound-guided injections and procedures. I am an active member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the Spine Intervention Society.
Can you talk about your practice as a physiatrist?
I treat patients of all ages with musculoskeletal complaints ranging from degenerative conditions such as joint arthritis, spinal stenosis, and chronic back pain to acute conditions like ankle sprains, running injuries, and concussions. My practice locations include MossRehab Elkins Park, Tabor Road, and Norriton.
Why are you affiliated with MossRehab?
I learned about MossRehab, its prestige, and long history in serving the local community during my residency in Philadelphia. It has an established national and international reputation in the field of physical medicine and rehab. I’m proud to have the honor to join its long list of experienced physicians that serve as leaders in our field.
Can you describe your approach to patient care?
I am very transparent with my patients about their condition and treatment options so they can make the best decision for themselves. When meeting a patient, we discuss their problems, functional goals, and prior treatments. The exam provides clues as to what might be causing pain or altering their mechanics. I like to consider the whole patient. For example, a patient may visit the clinic because of low back pain. Upon examination, I may diagnose a hip restriction that, when corrected, improves their back pain substantially. Throughout the rehabilitation process, my job is learning the patients’ goals, identifying current barriers, and supporting them as best I can throughout their care to reach their goals.
What kinds of different treatments do you use for your patients?
Treatment depends upon the patient’s conditions and preferences. These can be as simple as education, guided home exercises or medications to formal therapy or minimally-invasive procedures. Minimally-invasive procedures that I perform include epidural-spinal injections, nerve blocks, and ablations for the spine and peripheral joints, and ultrasound-guided joint and soft tissue injections.
What outcomes do you expect for your patients?
Expected outcomes depend on the patient and their goals. It’s not necessarily about decreasing pain from a 10 to an eight, but rather what you want to be able to do. Is your goal walking two blocks to get to the store, playing with your grandkids or running a marathon? I prefer to measure outcomes by restoring function rather than treating what findings we may see through imaging.
What are your clinical interests?
As a nonoperative physician, I try to keep current on new emerging technologies that allow me to advance patient care with only minimally-invasive techniques. Two of these are joint nerve ablations and peripheral nerve stimulation. Patients having pain in peripheral joints such as the knee, shoulder, and hip due to arthritis may be good candidates for peripheral joint ablations. This technique disrupts the nerves that transmit pain signals from that joint to improve pain and function. I'm also exploring peripheral nerve stimulation techniques for chronic pain conditions caused by nerve dysfunction. Both are performed in an outpatient setting and do not require general anesthesia, making them good options for patients who may not wish to undergo more invasive surgical procedures or when major surgery poses a significant health risk.
And what inspires you as a physiatrist?
Patients inspire me! I’ve had patients who initially had difficulty walking from the waiting room into the exam room. With the right treatment plan, time, and hard work, those patients can cross the room without the assistance of a cane, regaining their independence.
What is something that your co-workers might not know about you?
I am slowly ticking off the boxes to visit every national park within the U.S. Right now, I have visited 43.
What are your interests outside of work?
I’m a believer in exercise being the best medicine. I practice what I preach by staying active. I’m a hiker and backpacker and love taking my dogs along on my adventures. I also was a collegiate soccer player once upon a time and love participating in rec leagues around Philly.
What is your life motto?
Keep things simple and live life to its fullest without regrets.
Request an appointment with Dr. Marulli
Jan 18, 2022
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December 26, 2021 at 02:41 am
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