Occupational Therapy versus Physical Therapy: What is the difference?
July 02, 2019 | Abigail Mckay

Occupational Therapy versus Physical Therapy: What is the difference?


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Occupational therapy (OT) is often confused with physical therapy (PT) in both the medical and non-medical community alike. So, what exactly is the difference? Let’s find out.


OT is a therapy that is focused on helping patients return to usual activities of daily living or ADL. Children, teenagers, adults, and the elderly can benefit from OT when an illness, injury, or learning disability has altered the ability to perform daily tasks. For example, a few activities that can be developed through OT include bathing, personal hygiene, feeding, dressing, medication management, shopping, and cooking.  Both OT and PT can take place in a hospital setting, an outpatient facility, or even at home through home health. 


PT can also be utilized at any age, but instead of focusing on ADL, physical therapists turn their attention towards developing movements of the human body.  After an injury or illness reduces functional movements due to pain or muscular deterioration from inactivity, PT should be considered to help regain the lost movements. Physical therapists will perform and teach exercises that boost mobility and decrease pain associated with an injury.  In addition, they will create a wellness or exercise program to prevent further injury and develop an active lifestyle. The overall goal is to help patients return to their former activity level.


Both PT and OT ultimately share a similar purpose, which is to increase a patients quality of life.  It is the job of both the occupational and physical therapist to educate and empower patients so that they may, in turn, achieve a balanced lifestyle. Do you think you would benefit from one or both therapies? Connect with Shifa4U to order physiotherapy service in Pakistan.

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Abigail Mckay

Abigail has been a nurse for five years, and throughout her time as a nurse, she has worked in multiple medical-surgical units as well as spent time in the infusion therapy clinic and endoscopy lab. She is passionate about preventative medicine through patient education regarding nutrition and exercise. Due to her passion, Abigail has gone on to earn two certifications including a certification in medical-surgical nursing (CMSRN) and a certification in holistic nursing (HNB-BC), in hopes of being able to better serve her patients. Abigail earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA and now bettering patient education in the healthcare system through partnering with American TelePhysicians.