Occupational Therapy vs. Physical Therapy

One frequently asked question by patients recovering from an injury is: what is the difference between occupational therapy and physical therapy? How do you know which you need? There is some overlap between the two as they both utilize techniques to restore functionality and mobility; however, occupational therapy practices a holistic approach while physical therapy targets a particular area of the body.

Occupational therapy (OT) is ideal for individuals with physical, mental, or developmental conditions. The goal of OT is to develop or recover skills for daily living to allow an individual to function as independently as possible. Often the goals for each patient are set with their particular needs and desires in mind. These goals may include activities such as taking care of hygiene needs independently, simple meal preparations, and other tasks that tend to come easily to those without difficulties.

Physical therapy (PT) primarily focuses on functionality issues and pain relief through better mobility. It is ideal for those recovering from surgery or injury. The goal of PT is to get patients back on their feet standing and walking, and restoring their ability to function as they did prior to injury. The concern of PT is essentially on the physical aspects of the body’s ability to move properly.

Most athletes recovering from sports related injuries will find that physical therapy is what is included in their rehabilitation plan set forth by their physician. Recovering from a fracture or joint injury tends to involve exercises for strength building and flexibility restoration. It is only when serious head trauma has occurred where brain functioning has been impaired that occupational therapy may be recommended. This is because recovering functionality includes a neurological component.

Whatever the conditions of your recovery, your physician can answer all your questions and determine the best course of treatment for your needs. At Randolph Orthopedics and Sports Medicine located in Asheboro, NC we are staffed by physicians and therapists experienced with patient rehabilitation. Call us at 336-626-2688 for more information.