What’s the difference between Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy? That is a common question people have when starting therapy. This article will attempt to explain the difference. First both a Physical and Occupational Therapist are required to be licensed by the state of Michigan. You can verify a license using the state of Michigan website https://w2.lara.state.mi.us/VAL/License/Search.
The American Occupational Therapy Association describes Occupational Therapy as “In its simplest terms, occupational therapists help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations). Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes. Occupational therapy services may include comprehensive evaluations of the client’s home and other environments (e.g., workplace, school), recommendations for adaptive equipment and training in its use, and guidance and education for family members and caregivers. Occupational therapy practitioners have a holistic perspective, in which the focus is on adapting the environment to fit the person, and the person is an integral part of the therapy team.”
Some therapy clinics refer to Occupational Therapist as the therapist that works on the shoulder, elbow and hand. In the home setting common problems Occupational Therapy works on addressing issues to manage daily activities such as dressing, bathing, cooking.
The American Physical Therapy Association describes Physical Therapy as “Licensed health care professionals who help patients improve or restore mobility, and in many cases helping patients reduce pain, and avoid the need for surgery and the long-term use of prescription medications and their side effects. Physical therapists examine, evaluate, and treat patients whose conditions limit their ability to move and function in daily life. Your physical therapist's overall goal is to maintain, restore, or improve your mobility and help reduce your pain.”
In the home setting common problems Physical Therapy works on addressing are home safety. This includes fall prevention, safety recommendations, equipment recommendations, balance improvement. In addition to these safety issues home physical therapy also treats common musculoskeletal problems like limited shoulder movement/pain, low back pain, neck pain, joint replacement therapy.
Tim Batt, PT
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