Difference Between Physical And Occupational Therapy

FAQ: What Is The Difference Between Physical And Occupational Therapy?

Here at Borja Physical Therapy, our world revolves around our patients’ needs! Our experienced and highly trained team is here to make recovery a reachable goal! We specialize in keeping you active. We empower your decision to self-heal the natural way, without relying on pain pills, injections or surgery. So, what is the difference between physical and occupational therapy?

The Difference Between Physical And Occupational Therapy

Difference Between Physical And Occupational Therapy

Physical and occupational therapy are two types of rehabilitative care that have the same main goal in mind. They aim to improve the quality of life due to injury, illness, or surgery.

Physical Therapy (PT)

PT focuses on joint alignment and movement patterns. They also look at imbalances and limitations in motion. They work to help restore movement. This involves treating the body as a whole. Typically, they will use stretches, exercises, and hands-on techniques. Their focus is to get people back to doing the things that they love.

PT treats specific body parts and movements. Think of them as a mechanic for the human body. When they’re treating someone with lower back pain, they will look at the area, take measurements and do functional testing. A good PT will also take a look at the surrounding areas as well.

Although the pain may be located in the lower back, oftentimes there are several factors that affect the pain or condition. For instance, a person with lower back pain may have flat feet. This can their feet to tilt and even roll their ankles. It also throws their knees out of alignment and as a result, causes lower back pain. PTs will discover this chain of events and create an individualized Plan Of Care to address the root cause of the patient’s condition.

Occupational Therapy (OT)

OT focuses on improving a person’s ability to perform daily tasks. Typically, they will work on improving gross and fine motor skills. This includes being able to perform tasks at home, work, and school.

OTs treat patients recovering from an injury or who have a cognitive or developmental disability that affects their motor skills. They also help educate teachers and caregivers on ways they can assist. For instance, an OT may help someone who suffered a stroke relearn how to eat using a fork or spoon. They may also teach the spouse ways they can make daily living easier, such as using food containers with easy lids so the patient can open them on their own.

Similarities Between PT And OT

PT and OT have a lot in common as well. Some of these similarities include:

  • Overall Focus. Both PT and OT focus on improving function and quality of life. They also provide knowledge to help stay healthy.
  • Medical Conditions. There are a lot of medical conditions which may use both therapies.
  • Care. The type of hands-on care and tasks performed to help improve daily activities may overlap between the two therapies.
  • Goals. PT and OT both set goals to achieve and reassess along the way.

Often times PT and OT will collaborate with one another as part of a rehabilitative team. This rehabilitative team can also consist of doctors, nurses, social workers, speech therapists, recreational therapists, and music therapists. Each member of the team specializes in a certain aspect of the rehabilitation process.

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About The Author

Jaime Curl

I've explored many different fields within physical therapy, including acute care and oncology at Troy Beaumont Hospital, elementary through high school levels in the Troy School District, and outpatient physical therapy. As the office manager and marketer, I am able to combine my love for health and exercise science with my people skills, all with a dash of marketing and personal training. My hobbies include spending time with friends and family, baking, crafting, and watching my favorite movies or tv shows.

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