When a person is recovering from an injury or dealing with a loss of motor function, they may seek assistance in the form of physical or occupational therapy. Many people believe these two terms are interchangeable, but they are distinct practices. While there are many similarities and overlaps between the two, physical therapy and occupational therapy each focus on different aspects of the individual to help them with rehabilitation. Understanding the difference between the two can help people decide which is right for them.
Occupational therapy focuses on the activities that a person wants to perform in their daily life. This could range from cooking their own meals at home to operating specific machinery that is required for their job. Occupational therapists might seek to help a patient recover the ability to perform an activity the way they always have, or they may need to find a way for the patient to achieve the same result by working around the physical impairment.
What Is Physical Therapy?
Physical therapists focus on a patient’s actual impairment and develop a plan to improve or even eliminate that impairment. This plan can include exercises designed to strengthen the muscles and counter the limits on mobility imposed by an injury or disability. The goal of physical therapy is to increase mobility and decrease pain, leading to more activity overall, without a focus on specific tasks.
How Do Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy Overlap?
While the above definitions illustrate the difference in the treatment focus for occupational and physical therapy, there are many ways in which the professions are similar. Both professions require graduate-level degrees and are subject to licensing requirements in every state. Fundamentally, they both share the same goal of helping patients overcome injury and disability to lead productive and fulfilling lives.
“Mary Ann Morse Healthcare Center specializes in providing rehabilitative care for our patients. Our dedicated physical and occupational therapy teams collaborate to provide an interdisciplinary, individualized approach to patient care, with the goal of maximizing function and self-care skills. We work closely with the individual to incorporate their personal goals into their plan of care and to facilitate a seamless discharge back to the community.” – Marybeth Ford, Rehabilitation Director
Schedule a tour of our facilities or give us a call today at 508.433.4400 to learn what we can do for you.