Many of our patients can benefit from occupation therapy, physical therapy or a combination of both. However, we understand that sometimes the different therapies can be confusing. To help to clear things up here are some simple ways to differentiate between the two options and to see how they can help with your recovery.
What is Occupational Therapy?
The term occupational therapy is not really about your job, but it is about being able to live your life to the fullest. An occupational therapist will work with you after surgery, illness or injury to help you learn or re-learn how to do the things that you need to do every day. This may include having you do specific exercises or even play fun games to help your fine or gross muscle movement.
Our occupational therapists can work with you to build strength so that you can grasp items after hand or arm surgery, or to learn a different way to do the things you do each day given physical limitations that you may experience. In some cases, such as after a stroke, the occupational therapists may help you to learn techniques to dress, bathe and care for yourself up to the level of your ability.
What is Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy is used in recovery to help to strengthen the body and to incorporate strength and muscle movement to the affected areas of the body. Often more like a workout, physical therapists will carefully choose specific exercises or manual manipulation of the limbs or body to help with range of motion, strength and physical ability.
Our physical therapists also help patients to learn how to use walkers, wheelchairs and adaptive equipment, which is often done in conjunction with the work done by the occupational therapist.
There are many patients that we see that benefit from the strength and mobility training of the physical therapists and the fine motor control assistance of the occupational therapists. Typically, the patients that see both therapists may actually work with the two professionals together in some of their sessions to build confidence, strength and the ability to complete daily tasks.
When our patients are in therapy with both the occupational therapist and the physical therapist the goal is to help the individual become as independent as possible through their recovery. We take into consideration each patient’s needs and where there may be limited mobility or areas of difficulty because of injury, illness or trauma that is short or long term.