home Education Distinguishing between Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy

Distinguishing between Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy

A lot of confusion surrounds this pair of professions, and a lot of people even assume that such professionals are interchangeable. However, in truth, a number of substantial differences exist between these two disciplines, but there are also a lot overlapping common ground between them too. Keep reading to learn how each is similar but also distinct from the other.

pta helping a physio patientAs contrasted to the field of physical therapy, the discipline of occupational therapy focuses particularly on the evaluation and improvement of how functional the abilities of a patient are. Occupational therapists do not usually treat a patient’s injuries directly, whereas a physical therapist might use things like acupuncture or manual therapy. Occupational therapists are more prone to guide a patient in making the most of their physical independence, such as improving any ability they have to perform daily routines and activities. This is usually done for patients following injuries or any circumstances involving physical impairment.

There are cases and scenarios where an occupational therapist deal with an injury directly, but most of the time they are concerned with the improvement of life skills. Occupational therapists often customize adaptive tools for the patient. In certain regions of the globe, occupational therapists make use of practices like ultrasound in the rehabilitation of an injury, just like physical therapists sometimes do. Typically they will have an  occupational therapy assistant to help assist patients carry out exercises and adapt to any new physical aides. Occupational therapists earn more than Physical therapists. There are many schools throughout the USA offering occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant programs.

The primary focus and intention of any occupational therapist is helping a patient enhance their abilities to perform the normal tasks of their daily life. Occupational therapists are far more likely than their physiotherapy counterparts to perform assessments on-site of both home and work environments. They do this so they can provide their patients and their closest relationships specific recommendations on how to make regular environments better-suited for a higher standard of living. Occupational therapists receive education and training in how to modify a physical environment to accomplish this, in addition to being able to train a patient in the proper usage of assistive equipment that increases their level of independence. Some physiotherapists do on-site assessment work of their own, but it happens less often than in occupational therapy.

Physical therapists are known as physiotherapists in a lot of other countries. They may be assisted by an physical therapy assistant or aide (PTA). Whatever they are called, their purpose and intention is primarily three things. The first is the evaluation of movement dysfunctions. The second is the diagnosis of movement dysfunctions. The third is the actual treatment of a patient’s movement dysfunctions.

Occupational therapists also do diagnosis, but physical therapists are much more likely to actually diagnose and then treats the problem at its physical source, which is the actually injured structures and tissues within the human body. Both kinds of therapists are extensively trained in the subject of anatomy, particularly the musculoskeletal system of human muscles and bones, so they are highly educated about such injuries, and often can do rehabilitation far better than a primary care physician who serves as a general practitioner.

Even though there are distinctions between these two professions, there is a lot of overlap between occupational and physical therapists. For instance, occupational therapists might be involved in helping educate individuals about preventing and avoiding injuries as well as enlightening them as to what the healing process involves. In a similar vein, a physical therapist might guide someone through the process of improving any ability the have to get through a routine day through a combination of training and education. Despite the crossover, both professions are vital to a robust health care services sector, as all their forms of expertise are necessary to treat everyone who needs to recover from an injury.

Peter Hunter

Peter Hunter

I am based in Paris, France. Contact me for freelance and collaborative opportunities.

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