Tag Archive for: PT and Rehabilitation Center

The Difference Between Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy

Words that sound the same may be very confusing, especially if the words are medical in nature. Medical terminology can be a very overwhelming language to learn, even to some medical professionals! This is especially true once you see how closely spelled, and in some cases, pronounced, some terms are. It is imperative that close attention is paid when using medical terminology in order to be sure that the desired information is communicated. Let’s spend a little time making sure we understand the differences between some commonly confused medical word roots. With few exceptions, we will use various suffixes, as we explore these root words to help distinguish the meanings easier.

Physical Therapy vs. Occupational Therapy

Even though they may seem alike, there is a difference between physical therapy and occupational therapy. Physical therapy aims to reduce pain, improve and restore mobility and function, and prevent disability. Occupational therapy aims to help individuals across the lifespan engage in occupations, or everyday activities, that individuals want and need to do.

Physical Therapy:

The main goal of physical therapy is to restore your function and mobility, and eliminate or minimize your pain so you can get back to your active lifestyle. People everywhere are experiencing the transformative effect physical therapy can have on their daily lives. In fact, physical therapists are experts in the way the body moves, and they help people of all ages and abilities reduce pain, improve or restore mobility, and stay active and fit throughout life.

Physical therapy can help treat the underlying source of your pain, whether it’s arthritis or another condition, and will help chronic pain improve over time. Physical therapy may include water therapy, such as working muscles in a pool or whirlpool. Physical therapy also includes regular exercise, and working with pain specialists trained in physical therapy can teach you the right way to exercise to alleviate pain, not increase it.

Occupational Therapy:

Occupational therapists must often determine whether the patient can complete daily functions on their own, or whether a caregiver is ultimately needed. They focus on the patient’s well-being, both in and outside of therapy.

Occupational therapy is the only profession that helps people across the lifespan to do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities or occupations. Occupational therapy practitioners enable people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, and prevent or live better with their injury, illness, or disability.  Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, as well as helping people recovering from injury to regain skills.  

To learn more about the difference between physical therapy and occupational therapy, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050 to request an appointment.