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PT vs. OT: The Definitive Answer

How do physical therapy and occupational therapy enhance each other -- and how do they differ?

For many of us, 'physical therapy' and 'occupational therapy' are interchangeable terms. Actually, while the two types of therapies occasionally overlap, the approach to each is different. At Advanced Pain Care, with clinics in Austin and Amarillo, TX, we believe that physical and occupational therapies can complement each other to assist in the healing process.

What does a physical therapist do?

Physical therapy helps everyone from victims of car accidents to cancer patients. This type of therapy treats the body to facilitate proper alignment, reduce or eliminate pain, and help restore mobility. Physical therapy can also be used as an alternative to surgeries and medications. Physical therapy, or PT, can help the injured get back to work, experience a wider range of motion, and participate once again in activities ranging from playing with their children to mowing the lawn.

What is occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy, or OT, may also be used to treat those injured in a workplace or vehicle accident. In addition, occupational therapists help those with disabilities to reduce impact on their daily lives. However, instead of treating the body directly, occupational therapists examine the mental, emotional and environmental aspects of the illness or injury.

For example, a physical therapist may help a patient start walking again through physical exercise and rehabilitation. An occupational therapist may look at the physical as part of the bigger picture. But the occupational therapist also considers why a patient may be emotionally unprepared to perform a specific duty. The patient's surroundings may impact how he or she performs within them. Interactions with others and the physical environment can have a major impact on recovery or improving mobility and functionality.

What do PT and OT have in common?

Despite their different approaches, the two types of therapies have similarities. Occupational and physical therapists both hold advanced degrees and must be licensed. Both types of therapists aim to help patients reach their full potential through rehabilitation.

Whether you or someone you care about have been injured or have a disability that affects the way you live your life, OT and PT may be the answer. A combination of physical and occupational therapies addresses the whole person for a holistic healing experience. Contact an Advanced Pain Care clinic in Amarillo or Austin, TX, to get started on the path to a better life.