Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Differences Between Physical and Occupational Therapy

Although physical therapy and occupational therapy have some elements in common, getting the right attention is the best way to a swift recovery. Here is a breakdown of the differences between both practices.

Occupational Therapy 
A woman getting her legs examined by two doctors

Occupational therapy is a process that focuses on the evaluation and improvement of a person's ability to function on a day-to-day basis. Unlike physical therapists, occupational therapists do not use treatments such as acupuncture or manual therapy to treat an injury or condition. Instead, they focus on developing the skills necessary to accomplish daily tasks and implementing corresponding daily plans. Occupational therapists may use tools such as ultrasound or other direct injury treatments much like physical therapists, but their primary goals are to help patients improve their daily life and live independently despite physical difficulties. Occupational therapists often focus on skills such as driving, mobility, eating, and modifying one's environment to make a space more easy to navigate.

Physical Therapy

While occupational therapy is often about practical abilities and skills, physical therapy focuses more on a patient's recovery from an injury. Physical therapists often focus on the injured tissues and structures that led to a person's ailment and use their training in anatomy and the musculoskeletal system to ease a patient's road to recovery. Physical therapists also focus on rehabilitation from a specific injury and can work in certain specialties, such as geriatrics, neurology, orthopedics, pediatrics, and sports medicine.

Unifying Factors

Between these two practices, there is a great deal of overlap. For example, both physical therapists and occupational therapists strive to educate patients about how to prevent and avoid injuries in the future, as well as extensively explaining healing processes. They also both accurately diagnose specific problems in patients while helping them on the path to recovery from whatever injury or impediment may be ailing them. A qualified physician will be able to guide patients to the appropriate program.

The distinctions between physical therapy and occupational therapy can seem minute, but they are important when considering treatment. If you live in the Midlothian area and think you or your loved one could benefit from physical or occupational therapy, then reach out to Midlothian HealthCare Center today by filling out our contact form. Our family-oriented care approach focuses on one-on-one care to help you get back to feeling healthy and strong.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Five Consequences of Falls That Physical Therapy Can Help Prevent

Most people think of physical therapy for its benefits for patients recovering from specific injuries or procedures. While it is certainly critical in those circumstances, it is also encouraged as a preventative measure. In fact, when seniors choose to participate in preventive therapy, the very falls that cause injuries and necessitate operations for full recovery may be avoided. Here are some other potential negative outcomes that may be prevented with the help of therapy.

Loss of Independence 
An elderly woman and a physical therapist walking down the hall smiling in Midlothian, TX

Due to the lack of mobility and agility caused by injuries, falls are the leading cause of relocation to skilled care facilities. In fact, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that one out of five falls leads to a serious injury, including broken bones or traumatic head injuries. Most require long-term care, including possible operations. As a result, seniors who experience falls may lose their ability to live independently.

Chronic Pain

As a result of injuries that remain long-term problems, chronic pain often becomes an issue. This may lead to long-term stays in recovery centers. In addition, even those who return home after receiving care often suffer from uncontrollable or frequent pain that can be managed, but not entirely resolved.


For some people, embarrassment at the possibility of having another fall is an impediment. Those who enjoyed social activities before a fall may be reluctant to take part in such activities out of fear of a fall happening again.

Repeated Falls

Even those who aren't afraid of the social impact of falling again are prone to repeated falls. Additional research from the CDC found that falling once will double the chance of another fall instance. While rehabilitation services after an injury aid tremendously in recovery, continuing weakness and limited range of motion can contribute to repeated incidences.

Lower Self-Esteem

Loss of independence combined with these other factors can lead, sadly, to a feeling of shame and a poor sense of self. Some people feel that they are a burden to others as they age, especially when they are no longer able to care for themselves as they once did.

Thankfully, there is a positive way to prevent falls from occurring. Physical therapy helps seniors improve muscle control and coordination through a combination of strength and balance training. Avoiding falls becomes more difficult with age, but when the proper steps are taken, all individuals have the opportunity to experience less pain and more joy. Our caring team at Midlothian HealthCare Center can help you or a loved one with preventive therapy services. Contact us today to get started.