Occupational Therapy vs. Physical Therapy


Medical / Thursday, May 31st, 2018

Occupational Therapy vs. Physical Therapy

Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists offer various services to the clients they serve. However, there are distinct differences between the two practices. Both practices are critical to the lives and recovery of people of all ages and abilities. These practices allow people to live fuller more independent lives.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy (OT) help patients regain function after the onset of illnesses or injuries or developmental delays. OT is very individualized treatment. Occupation Therapists work in schools, private practices, hospitals, and various other rehabilitation facilities.

Occupational Therapy is very versatile, and therapists must be creative and adaptive with each patient care plan.  Therapists work with people in all stages of life who need help with every day with a broad range of life skills.

For example, in case of a person with major traumatic injury, it helps the person to recover by facilitating early mobilization, restoring function and preventing worsening of the patient’s condition. Another example is that OTs can help elderly people deal with age-related disabilities. It helps them lead a better, more independent life. This profession is satisfying to both the therapists and the patient receiving the care to build independence.

In the case of people suffering from drug addiction, mood disorders, dementia, anxiety disorders, and personality disorders the occupational therapist will teach the patient to keep a daily planner, manage money, build social skills and increase community participation.

OTs give assistance and training in performing daily activities including dressing, eating, housekeeping, gardening, cooking.  OTs evaluate the daily living needs and assess home and work environments, with recommendations for changes in those environments that will help the patient continue their activities. OTs also help guide to family members and caregivers. It is often a collective group effort to learn a new skill or recover from an accident, but OTs are the link between the different parties to make sure progress is being made.

Licensing laws vary by state, but common requirements include graduating from an accredited occupational therapy masters program, meeting fieldwork requirements hours, and passing a national certification exam. They make an average of $81,910 on an annual basis.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy (PT) focuses on a specific part of the bod, which has undergone an injury, stress, or trauma.

In the early days of physical therapy, it was only restricted to exercise, massage and traction. Now physical therapists may specialize in specific clinical areas. There are specialized physical therapists treating only those who have had cardiac surgery, or athletic injury management, like acute care, treatment and rehabilitation, prevention, and education.

A therapist will often help the patient with flexibility, strength, endurance, coordination, and balance. First, the therapist will try to reduce the pain and swelling. The physical therapist may also use manual therapy, education, and techniques such as heat, cold, water, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation. Then the physical therapist will teach some exercises that can be done at home. It will include stretching, core exercises, weight lifting, and walking.

Most Physical Therapists are headed towards holding a doctorate degree. All have bachelor’s degree and master’s degree. They make an average of $85,400 on an annual basis. Physical therapists must be licensed and pass the National Physical Therapist Examination

Both Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists are critical to creating independent and improved lifestyles. While Occupational Therapists look at a wider scope of therapy, Physical Therapists mainly focus on muscle movement, recovery, and improvement. It wouldn’t be uncommon for someone to start working with a Physical Therapist for muscle recovery, and then work with an Occupational Therapist for regaining skills regarding everyday activities.

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