Physical Therapy vs. Occupational Therapy: What’s the Difference?

Before you can understand why physical therapy and occupational therapy are both so important, you must first understand the differences between physical therapy and occupational therapy. Physical therapy refers to a variety of natural and conservative treatments aimed at relieving pain and promoting healing. Occupational therapy, while it is a similar form of conservative treatment, focuses more on rehabilitation and the “relearning” of daily activities. The purpose of occupational therapy is to make daily life easier by participating in treatments and exercises.

Hand therapy is also a form of occupational therapy. While the title only specifies hands, this form of therapy focuses on the upper extremity as a whole, which also includes the wrist, forearm, elbow, arm, and shoulder. Hand therapists will treat injuries and ailments that affect the upper extremity and work toward returning the affected area to its highest level of function.

At Hands-On Physical Therapy, we are happy to say that we offer all three forms of therapy: physical therapy, occupational therapy, and hand therapy. To learn more about how these therapies may help you find relief, contact our office today.

Conditions that PT and OT treat:

Whether you’re receiving physical therapy treatments, occupational therapy treatments, or a combination of both, the natural, conservative care of a PT clinic is one of the most effective ways to treat pain and injury. In fact, according to the American Physical Therapy Association, conservative treatments have worked even better than surgical treatments for the correction of certain conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

Physical therapy treatments and occupational therapy treatments cover a wide range of conditions, and sometimes they even overlap. However, physical therapy is used to treat orthopedic, neurological, and autoimmune deficiencies, while occupational typically focuses solely around orthopedics.

At Hands-On Physical Therapy, some common conditions we treat with PT include:

  • Arthritis.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Injuries, sustained from sports, work, or motor vehicle accidents.
  • Surgical procedures (both before and after).
  • TMJ dysfunction.
  • Balance and gait disorders.
  • Chronic conditions and pain throughout the body.

Occupational therapy tends to focus more closely on hand, elbow, and wrist pain relief. Some common conditions we treat with OT, through our specialized hand therapy services, include:

  • Burns.
  • Nerve injuries.
  • Fractures.
  • Tendonitis.
  • Chronic conditions.
  • Stroke.

Contact us for relief:

At Hands-On Physical Therapy, we are equipped in providing specialized treatments and therapies for any pain or discomfort you may be feeling. Our team will work closely with you to determine which course of treatment will be best for your specific needs. Contact us or schedule an appointment online today!

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