If you or a loved one end up with an illness or injury, it could affect your daily life. For example, activities such as cooking, getting dressed, or even brushing your teeth may be challenging. Or maybe you always enjoyed sports, and due to your injury, you can no longer play.

Luckily, there are rehabilitation therapies to help with daily tasks and activities that you love. Occupational therapy and physical therapy are important in rehabilitation care. Often the two professions work together.

Even though these two professions help patients recover from illness or injury, they use different methods. You do not have to be admitted to the hospital to take advantage of these services either.

So, what is physical therapy and occupational therapy? Would you or your loved one benefit from both? Keep reading on to learn about occupational therapy vs. physical therapy.

Advanced Educational Backgrounds

Both physical therapists and occupational therapists require extensive training and education. However, they both follow different paths. 

A physical therapist must have a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT). The DPT takes about 7 years to achieve. Four years of undergraduate then 3 years of course to earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy.

Once a physical therapist completes their DPT, they are not done yet. Next, they must pass the National Physical Therapy Examination. 

Occupational therapists must also go through extensive training. Occupational therapists have a master’s degree in Occupational Therapy.

Then they must pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). 

All states require both physical therapists and occupational therapists to be licensed. Some states do have additional requirements such as background checks as well.

Job Responsibilities 

The biggest difference between occupational therapists and physical therapist is their job responsibilities. 

Occupational therapists work closely with ill and disable patients. They focus on helping them develop, recover, improve, and maintain skills to help them complete daily tasks.

For example, they may help a patient who has neuromuscular disease improve motor skills to do things such as brush their teeth or cook.

On the other hand, physical therapists help patients after an injury or illness regain strength and movement. Physical therapists also help to manage patient’s pain during the healing process.

For example, if someone suffered a car accident and struggled to walk, a physical therapist would create a treatment plan. This may include exercises and stretches a patient could do to help their muscles so they can walk again. 

Working in More Than a Hospital Location

Both physical therapists and occupational therapists work in a variety of healthcare settings. While some may choose to work in the hospital, both professions may decide to work in locations such as:

  • Outpatient clinics 
  • Offices
  • Nursing homes
  • Home health agencies
  • Schools

An occupational therapist may also work in mental health facilities. Physical therapists also work in outpatient physical therapy clinics or fitness centers. Here they help to improve patient’s overall wellness.    

Occupational Therapy vs. Physical Therapy 

When comparing occupational therapy vs. physical therapy, there are many similarities. Both physical therapists and occupational therapists work together to give specialized care to best help a patient. As a result, many patients benefit from both occupational and physical therapy.

Adding physical therapy to your treatment plan may help you in healing and managing pain. Contact us at the Health Club at Travis Place today to learn more about our physical therapy options.