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.