How Are Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy Different?

How Are Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy Different?

If you were unfamiliar with occupational therapy and physical therapy, would you think they were the same?

If you were unfamiliar with occupational therapy and physical therapy, would you think they were the same? You might also wonder what relationship they have with one another. Despite the confusion regarding these two fields, they are different. Even so, there are times when they overlap. Let’s learn more about them!

What is Occupational Therapy?

The primary focus of occupational therapy is helping a patient improve their ability to function. An occupational therapist, therefore, might not directly treat their patient’s particular injury at first. Instead, the therapist would seek to help their client overcome challenges caused by an injury or another scenario in which they are physically impaired. Along with giving their patient the skills and tools they need to regain a normal life, an occupational therapist will eventually find ways to help treat the injury. After all, the injury could prevent the patient from making enough progress. Not only will the OT change the environment the patient is in, to facilitate treatment, but they will also train their patients how to use assistive technology.

What About Physical Therapy?

Unlike occupational therapy, physical therapy is much more focused on overcoming the injury itself. A physical therapist can identify any conditions that might affect their patient’s movement. While an OT will focus on the mental aspect of injury adaptation, the PT will, as their name implies, focus on the physical aspect instead. Both of these therapists are trained to be highly specialized and knowledgeable about injuries to muscles and bones, and how to recover from these injuries. In fact, their training might make them more knowledgeable than a general physician.

When and How Do They Overlap?

Despite the major differences between OT and PT, both therapists will perform overlapping duties. An OT can teach people how to avoid injury and also the best ways to heal after sustaining one. A PT would do the same. A physical therapist would also depend on the same types of education and training to help their patients as well. Even with these overlaps, both types of these therapists are important support professionals for helping patients recover from their injuries.

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