Similarities Between Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy

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Occupational therapy focuses on enhancing the patient’s independence following treatment, whereas physical therapy focuses more on the treatment of injuries.

Individuals who are disabled or handicapped, or have any injury that limits their movement receive both of these sorts of therapies.

What is Occupational Therapy?

If you have pain, an injury, a disease, or a condition that makes it difficult for you to move around, take care of yourself, do domestic duties, or engage in activities, this type of therapy may be able to help.

You learn to adjust with the help of occupational therapy (OT). You can use it to accomplish any task at work, school, or home. If you require tools, sometimes known as assistive equipment, you will learn how to utilize them.

You can use it to aid you with daily life things like:

  • eating independently 
  • Participating in recreational activities
  • Working in an office
  • Taking a shower and getting dressed.
  • Clean up the house or do the chores.

An Occupational Therapist

They are graduates who receive specialized occupational therapy training. They’re likely to be referred to as OTs. To be certified to practice, they must obtain a license and succeed on a national exam.

Some occupational therapists (OTs) do additional training so they can concentrate on particular treatment modalities, such as hand therapy, treating patients with limited eyesight, or dealing with kids or older individuals.

Occupational therapy assistants support some aspects of patient care. They are not authorized to evaluate or develop a treatment plan. An associate’s degree is required for an OT assistant.

OTs and OTAs frequently collaborate with a physician, physical therapists, psychologists, or other medical experts.

Who needs Occupational therapy?

  • Children with birth defects or birth injuries
  • abnormalities of sensory processing
  • trauma to the brain or spinal cord 
  • cognitive difficulties
  • juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • behavioral or mental health issues
  • fractures or other orthopedic wounds
  • Slow development mentally and physically
  • post-operative complications
  • Burn injuries
  • traumatized amputations of extremities 
  • spina bifida
  • Cancer patients
  • traumatic hand injuries
  • cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and other chronic conditions

Occupational therapy can be done at hospitals, rehabilitation centers, trauma centers, and nurses’ assisted care homes.

What is Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy is intended to treat pain, improve mobility, or strengthen weak muscles. 

Exercises, massages, and other therapies based on physical stimuli may be a part of physical therapy, often known as physiotherapy (e.g. heat, cold, electrical currents, or ultrasound). 

Showing patients what they can do on their own to enhance their own health is a crucial objective as well. Therapy must be continued at home, not only at the clinic.

Physiotherapy treatment includes:

  1. Exercises that require you to perform specific movements actively
  2. guided passive movements performed by the therapist for you
  3. applying pressure (massage) 
  4. therapies based on physical stimuli like heat, cold, electrical currents, or ultrasound.

Who is a physiotherapist?

The licensed healthcare practitioners who complete specialized graduate-level physical therapy training are Physiotherapists. They may also be referred to as PTs.

The degree is known as Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT).

The PT will conduct examinations to evaluate:

  • How easily you can bend, reach, and grab objects
  • How well you can climb stairs or walk
  • Your heart’s rhythm when you’re moving around
  • your alignment or posture

The following conditions can be treated with physical therapy:

  • backache
  • issues brought on by muscle, tendon, or joint injuries or signs of aging
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pelvic floor issues like incontinence (leakage of urine) or pain
  • arthritis rheumatoid
  • disorders of the heart and blood vessels
  • respiratory conditions (affecting the airways)
  • illnesses of the nervous system, such as Parkinson’s, stroke, or multiple sclerosis
  • developmental issues in children, such as those that damage their bones or muscles
  • Physical therapy can also be used to aid those who require assistance or nursing care, for example, to strengthen muscles and prevent falls.

The goal of physiotherapy is to improve quality of life by improving mobility, strengthening the muscles, increasing stamina, and blood circulation, improving coordination, and relieving chronic pains.

It can be done at home, hospitals, nursing care homes, rehabilitation centers, and special schools.

Similarities between Occupational therapy and physical therapy

  1. The main goal of physical therapy and occupational therapy is the same, both are designed to help people to improve their quality of life.
  2. Both come under the same branch of medicine, and rehabilitation sciences, and can be carried out at rehabilitation centers.
  3. Both physiotherapists and occupational therapists are taught in detail the anatomy and musculoskeletal system of the human body.
  4. Both help people with disabilities either physical or mental.
  5. Both can be carried out in the comfort of a home or a wellness center. Do not necessarily require a hospital setup.
  6. Physiotherapists and occupational therapists both require a 4-year graduate degree to practice.
  7. Both require assistance to help their patients with the help of an assistant.


What are the differences between occupational therapy and physical therapy?

Occupational therapy is designed to help with physical and mental disabilities. Physiotherapy is designed to help with physical disabilities and pain management.

How do you become OT vs Physical Therapist?

A four-year graduation program is designed to become an Occupational therapist while physiotherapists require a degree, Doctor of physiotherapy (DPT) to become a physical therapist.

What is the difference between physical therapists and physiotherapists?

Physical therapists are also known as physiotherapists, hence both are the same.

What are the differences between physiotherapists and occupational therapists?

Physical therapy and occupational therapy are different in a way that physical therapy is primarily concerned with treating the patient’s injury, whereas occupational therapy is primarily concerned with helping the patient maximize their independence and capacity for daily activity.

What are the differences between OT (occupational therapist) vs OT assistant?

An occupational therapist evaluates the patient and designs a treatment plan while an OT assistant only follows the treatment plan and instructions given by Occupational Therapist. They cannot evaluate and prescribe a treatment plan.

What are the differences between physiotherapists and physiotherapist assistants?

A physiotherapist evaluates the problem and works with the physician to design a treatment plan and prescription medicines for pain relief. A physiotherapist assistant only follows the instructions given by the physiotherapist and helps the patients to perform exercises.

Who is a physiatrist vs. a physiotherapist? And what is their scope of practice?

Physiatrist, commonly referred to as rehabilitation medicine specialist, belongs to a field of medicine that focuses on the identification, avoidance, and treatment of all conditions that affect the brain, nerves, bones, muscles, or joints. A physiotherapist is also related to rehabilitation medicine and deals with pain management, restoring physical abilities, and musculoskeletal-related problems.

Author: Dr. Romisa

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