Physical Therapy Versus Occupational Therapy: Know the Difference


Although both occupational therapy and physical therapy are mainstay features of complementary medicine that are geared towards enhancing muscular, functional, and structural stability in people, it’s noteworthy that the two tools of rehabilitation are fundamentally distinct and different. And so are specialists who offer these therapeutic modalities.

What’s Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy?

Physiotherapy is part of the rehabilitation of an injury that may not lead to permanent disability. It’s geared towards the improvement of structural and muscular support of the tendons and tissues after a chronic or acute injury. In principle, physical therapy is intended to restore activity without hindering the normal healing process.

On the other hand, occupational therapy helps patients adapt to their injuries in order to attain maximum functional independence and productivity. That is, occupational therapists help patients with their mobility using a raft of devices or equipment after an injury that has a high likelihood of being permanent. They, in essence, help the individuals embrace their injuries rather than work against to avoid further damage to tissue.

Approach and Techniques

Physical therapy encompasses the use of a vast knowledge of the human anatomy, musculoskeletal structure, and primarily physiological functioning of the joints, muscles, and its ligaments/tendons to restore an array of joint activity and body mobility. And that isn’t all – physical therapists use movement maneuvers and exercises that can decimate chances of muscles injuries and wear or tear of joints.

The occupational therapists use a different approach. They bring in friends, colleagues, and family to ensure that the individuals can garner useful skills that can help them cope with post-injury trauma. With an enabling environment, the victims can transition into their new lives without much pain.

Physical Therapy in Nashville, TN, is poised to improve the mobility of the patient, and the therapist undertakes interventive therapies such as acupuncture, massage, exercises, and physical movements to improve mobility. Occupational therapists perform rather qualitative therapies which aren’t treatments per se but a raft of social and perceptive adjustments geared towards making the life of the patient more liveable.

When Do You Need a Physical Therapist or an Occupational Therapist?

Physical Therapy in Nashville, TN, is necessary immediately after the injury; that is, in the initial recovery stage. A physical therapist will swoop in to make sure that you recover your mobility and heal tissue and muscles without any hassle. On its side, occupational therapists are required in the rehabilitation stage when the individual has fully recovered from the initial injury. So, if at all, a patient has to see the two professionals, he or she must knock at the door of a physical therapist first.

Wrapping Up

Physical therapy, especially in Nashville, is almost synonymous with athletes and sports teams because individuals in this category are most susceptible to musculoskeletal injuries. Additionally, physical therapists work with burn centers, surgical units, trauma centers, and nursing homes to serve patients who’re affected by moderate to severe injuries.

Occupational therapy is part of rehabilitation centers where patients need guidance and counseling to manage their lives after permanent or disabling injuries. As of January 2016, nearly half of occupational and physical therapists worked in conjunction with the offices of speech and physical therapy.