Vanitha Asokan, MD - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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  • Only Hospital Ranked #1 in America by U.S. News & World Report since 1991
  • 800,000+ outpatient visits each year
  • 5,000+ inpatients treated each year, system-wide
  • 50+ sites of care throughout Illinois and Indiana
  • One of only 2% of hospitals to receive three consecutive Magnet Recognitions for Nursing Excellence.
  • 182-bed inpatient hospital in the heart of Chicago
  • Largest rehabilitation research center in the world
  • Only rehabilitation hospital with eight federally designated research centers
  • 370+ active research projects in neuroscience, bionics, robotics, and musculoskeletal medicine
  • Academic home of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Department, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Clinical Trials

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Vanitha Asokan MD

Vanitha Asokan, MD, MS

  • Attending Physiatrist

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Year began practicing:
Year joined staff:
Year began practicing in specialty:

Conditions Treated / Services

  • Adult Cerebral Palsy
  • Amputation and Limb Deficiencies
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Ankle Pain/Injury
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis
  • Anoxic Brain Injury
  • Aphasia
  • Apraxia
  • Arthritis and Joint Conditions
  • Asthma
  • Avascular Necrosis
  • Back Pain
  • Bell's Palsy
  • Bladder Dysfunction
  • Bone Disorders
  • Bone Health
  • Bone Tumor
  • Botox (Botulinum toxin)
  • Bowel Dysfunction
  • Brain Injury
  • Brain Injury - Non-stroke-related (Multidisciplinary Brain Injury Clinic)
  • Brain Tumor
  • Bursitis
  • Cancer
  • Cardiac
  • Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Casting
  • Cervicitis
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Chronic Pelvic Pain
  • Closed Head Injuries
  • Coccydynia
  • Concussion
  • Congenital Limb Deficiency
  • Connective Tissue Disease
  • Constipation
  • Day Rehabilitation
  • Deconditioning
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Dementia
  • Difficulty Emptying
  • Dysarthria
  • Dysphagia
  • Elbow Pain
  • Electrodiagnostic Testing
  • Encephalopathy
  • Failed Back Surgery Syndrome
  • Falls
  • Fecal Incontinence
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Foot Pain/Injury
  • Fractures
  • Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE)/Work Hardening
  • Functional Electrical Stimulation
  • Gait Disorders
  • Geriatric Neurorehabilitation
  • Gout
  • Graft versus Host Disease
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome
  • Gymnastic Injuries
  • Hand Pain
  • Headaches
  • Hemianopsia
  • Hemorrhagic Stroke
  • Herniated Discs
  • Hip Injury
  • Hip Replacement
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Incontinence
  • Inflammatory Arthritis
  • Injections
  • Interstitial Cystitis
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Ischemic Stroke
  • Knee Injury
  • Knee Replacement
  • Kyphosis
  • Ligament Injuries to the Knee
  • Limb Deficiency
  • Locked In Syndrome
  • Low Back Pain
  • Low Vision
  • Lumbar Disk Disease
  • Lumbar Strain
  • Lymphedema
  • Migraine
  • Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Movement Disorders
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Muscle Strains
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Musculoskeletal (MSK) Conditions
  • Myofascial Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Nontraumatic Spinal Cord Injury
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Parkinson's and Movement Disorders
  • Patellofemoral Pain
  • Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
  • Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD)
  • Post-polio
  • Pregnancy
  • Psoriatic
  • Pulmonary Conditions
  • Radicular Pain
  • Repetitive Motion Injury
  • Rheumatoid
  • Rotator Cuff Injury
  • RSD / CRPS
  • Sacroiliac Joint Pain
  • Sciatica
  • Scleroderma
  • Scoliosis
  • Severe Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Spasticity
  • Spasticity Management
  • Spina Bifida
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Spinal Tumor
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Spondylolysis
  • Stroke
  • Stroke Rehabilitation
  • TMJ
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Vestibular - Vertigo, Imbalance
  • Vulvodynia
  • Whiplash
  • Work-Related Injuries
  • Workers' Compensation Injuries
  • Wrist Pain

Clinical Interests

Adult Cerebral Palsy, Amputation, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Aphasia, Apraxia, Arthritis, Asthma, Avascular Necrosis, Bell's Palsy, Bladder Dysfunction, Bone Disorders, Bowel Dysfunction, Brain Injury, Bursitis, Cancer, Cardiac, Carpal Tunnel, Charcot-Marie-Tooth, Chronic Fatigue, Chronic Pain, Coccydynia, Concussion, Degenerative Disc , Dysarthria, Dysphagia, Encephalopathy, Fibromyalgia, Fractures, Gait Disorders, Gout, Guillain-Barre , Hemianopsia, Herniated Discs, Hip Injury, Hydrocephalus, Incontinence, Injections, Interstitial Cystitis, Irritable Bowel , Knee Injury, Kyphosis, Locked In Syndrome, Lymphedema, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscle Strains, Muscular Dystrophy, Osteoarthritis, Parkinson's, Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, Peripheral Vascular Disease, Post-polio, Pulmonary, Repetitive Motion, Rheumatoid, Rotator Cuff, Sciatica, Scoliosis, Spasticity, Spina Bifida, Spinal Cord, Spondylolisthesis, Spondylolysis, Stroke, TMJ, Vestibular


  • English
  • Tamil

Education, Residency and Internship


University of Chicago, BA, Cultural Anthropology
Georgetown University, MS, Physiology
Ross University School of Medicine, MD


Stroger Hospital of Cook County; Chicago, IL, Transitional Year-Surgery and Internal Medicine
Stroger Hospital of Cook County; Chicago, IL, Anesthesiology
Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital; Wheaton, IL, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

Professional Memberships

Association of Academic Physiatrists

American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine

Illinois Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Honors & Awards

2003 Class Recognition and Service Award

2011-12 Chief Resident, Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital Residency Program


Pain, Muscle Spasm and Myotonia Congenita in a 23 Year Old Male: A Case Report. V. Asokan, MD; N. Rao, MD. Poster Presentation at AANEM Annual Meeting in 2011. Abstract Published in Muscle & Nerve and Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology.

Methylphenidate and Modafinil’s Effect on Functional Outcome in Brain Injury Rehabilitation: A Retrospective Study.  V. Asokan, MD; S. Mehta, MD; H. Afolarin, PharmD. Oral Paper Presentation at AAP Annual Meeting 2011.  Abstract published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Supplement. Grand Rounds Presentation March 31, 2011.  Manuscript Pending Publication.

Rehabilitation of Multiple Nerve Injuries Following Rhabdomyolysis and Compartment Syndrome: A Case Report.  D. Panchal, MD, S. Allen, MD, V. Asokan, MD and N. Rao, MD. Poster Presentation at AAP Annual Meeting 2012.  Abstract Published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Supplement.

Diabetes, Spinal Cord Injury and Functional Outcome: A Retrospective Study. V. Asokan, MD; V. Stambolis, MD. Poster Presentation at the AAPM&R Annual Assembly 2010, Abstract Published in the PM&R Journal Supplement. 

Merci Clot Retrieval and Functional Recovery: A Case Series. V. Asokan, MD; N. Rao, MD; Poster Presentation at the AAP Annual Meeting 2011. Abstract Published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Supplement.

  • Follow up Case Series Presented at the AAPMR Annual Meeting in 2011 authored by H. Akinbiyi, MD, V. Asokan, MD and N. Rao, MD.  Abstract Published in the PM&R Journal Supplement.

Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation for Pediatric Patients with Guillain Barre: A Case Series. V. Asokan, MD; M. Keen, MD. Poster Presentation at the AAP Annual Meeting 2011. Abstract Published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Supplement.

Apraxia in a 48 year old Stroke Patient with Congenital Deafness: A Case Report. V. Asokan, MD; R. Krieger, MD. Poster presentation at the AAP Annual Meeting 2010, Abstract Published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Supplement.

Effects of melatonin administration on daytime sleep after simulated night shift work. Katherine M. Sharkey, Louis F . Fogg and Charmane I . Eastman. J. Sleep Res. (2001) 10, 181±192. Credited for the data collection in a double-blind clinical trial examining the effects of sustained- release melatonin on daytime sleep.

Quick Review of Ventilator Modes: The Gas Cast Anesthesia Podcast Pacemakers and ICDs, V. Asokan—Audio Lecture Presentation Neuro-axial Blocks and Opioids, V. Asokan—Audio Lecture Presentation. Downloadable Podcast Presentations.

Research Interests

Neurostimulants in Brain Injury Use of Modalities in Myopathy

Use of Modalities in Neuromuscular Disease

Certifications & Licenses

Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: May 2013

Permanent License with Controlled Substance & DEA(IL)

Office Information