If you’ve never been prescribed physical or occupational therapy before, you may not know the difference between the two. The practices are very different, but can help treat similar conditions in different ways. Many patients may benefit from both physical and occupational therapy in order to get back to their maximum potential.
What is occupational therapy?
Occupational therapy is all about helping increase a patient’s independence by enabling them to perform purposeful tasks. A physical or mental impairment can make daily activities like getting dressed, bathing, or even eating difficult. Occupational therapy strives to help each patient build strength in order to help them perform these daily activities will as little pain and struggle as possible.
Occupational therapy is designed to treat patients that are recovering from an injury, surgery or any acute event and help patients living with conditions like arthritis, mental health conditions, and multiple sclerosis. The therapy is all about restoring function and increasing the body’s ability to perform simple tasks at home or at work. Occupational therapy can even address psychosocial problems by building life and social skills with the patient.
What is physical therapy?
Physical therapy is more focused on restoring the movement and mobility of the body. Physical therapists want to improve the functionality and prevent pain or stiffness. They focus in on the part of the body that is experiencing the pain, whether it is a torn ligament, a fracture, or the overal mobility of the entire body.
Physical therapy can include a number of specialty areas. Orthopedic therapists work on fractures, sprains, strains, sports injuries, recovery after a surgery, or for conditions like arthritis, back and neck pain, spinal conditions and amputations.Pediatric therapists help children and geriatric therapists help the elderly. Vestibular therapists work with patients on their balance issues caused by dizziness and vertigo. Neurological therapists help patients that may have suffered a stroke or dealing with a neurological condition like Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis.
What’s the difference?
Physical therapy is designed to treat the actual injury or impairment, whereas occupational therapy treat the impairment in action. Both practices strive to help improve the patient’s life, while each plays its own unique role.
Occupational Therapy vs. Physical Therapy