Many people often confuse Occupational Therapy (OT) and Physical Therapy (PT). These two professions have some of the same objectives but also have significant differences. Both types of therapists are tasked with improving the quality of life for their patients but each has its own specialized techniques and goals. Occupational therapists treat the whole person while physical therapists treat the patient’s actual impairment or condition. This article will highlight the differences between occupational therapy and physical therapy.
Occupational Therapy – OT’s goal is to improve a person’s functional abilities. It is a holistic health care profession that aims to promote health by helping patients learn how to perform focused activities that will benefit them throughout their lives.
Physical Therapy – PT’s goal is to evaluate and diagnose movement dysfunctions as well as treat injuries while improving a patient’s functional abilities, quality of life and movement potential after an accident or condition.
What do therapists do:
Occupational Therapists – Occupational therapists help patients with their day-to-day activities. For example, an occupational therapist would help a disabled student to participate in school. They can also evaluate their patient’s homes and workplaces to recommend adaptive tools to help give them the ideal environment for their specialized needs.
Physical Therapists – Physical therapists are musculoskeletal experts who examine patients and then develop rehabilitation plans to help them heal, reduce their pain, restore function and prevent further disability. They also provide counseling, education and research to promote each patient’s overall wellness and health.
Who they treat:
Occupational Therapists – Occupational therapists help treat people with mental and physical impairments, developmental disabilities, chronic conditions like arthritis as well as people with injuries or serious health conditions such as a stroke.
Physical Therapists – Physical therapists treat patients after injuries or long-term health problems such as chronic spine or back pain, osteoarthritis, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis or spinal stenosis.
Where therapists typically work:
Occupational Therapists – Occupational therapists generally work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, clinics, home care programs, private practices and schools.
Physical Therapists – Physical therapists generally work in hospitals, private practices, home health agencies, nursing homes, outpatient clinics, sports and fitness facilities and schools.
Occupational Therapists – Occupational therapists require at least a master’s degree, but the majority of these positions require a doctoral degree. Most states require occupational therapists to be licensed but the criteria to obtain licensing are different in each state.
Physical Therapists – Like occupational therapists, physical therapists are required to have at least a master’s degree, but the majority also require a doctoral degree. Additionally, physical therapists are required to be licensed in all 50 US states.
How Occupational therapy and Physical therapy overlap:
Both fields of therapy have similarities because helping the patient progress is a shared goal. In some instances, a patient might treat with both therapists. For example, someone might treat with a physical therapist initially to help with pain and build strength after a stroke. Later on, they might switch to an occupational therapist to relearn how to do everyday tasks and basic skills such as eating, dressing, bathing and walking.
If you need an occupational or physical therapist in Houston
OakBend Medical Center has both occupational and physical therapists as well as a large variety of other specialty therapists including; Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Therapy, Neurological Therapy, Vestibular Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Hand Therapy and Work Conditioning and Work Hardening Therapies. If you or a loved one requires any inpatient or outpatient therapy the skilled therapists at OakBend Medical Center deliver exceptional quality care to all of their patients. For more information please visit their website by clicking here or call 281-341-3000 today.