Serving the Greater Kalamazoo Area

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What’s the Difference Between Occupational Therapy (OT) and Physical Therapy (PT)?

Occupational therapy (OT) is a science-driven, evidence-based branch of health care that helps patients of all ages adapt to or recover from physical, sensory, or cognitive challenges. OT will help clients regain or maintain independent living and return them to their previous quality of life. 

How Do Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Differ?

PT focuses on restoring or improving movement, strength, and range of motion. OT aims to improve the motor skills you need to perform daily task

Physical therapy and occupational therapy both help improve quality of life and improve activities of daily living, but there are holistic differences:

  • Physical therapy’s main focus is restoring or improving movement, strength, and range of motion. PT will focus on improving movement, mobility, and the function of the human body.
  • Occupational therapy is a holistic approach that aims to improve the motor skills you need to perform the activities of daily living. OT can help people continue to live as independently as possible. 
  • A prescription isn’t required to receive occupational therapy treatments, but your physician will need to approve the care plan after the evaluation.

The biggest difference between the two is that occupational therapy will consider the whole body in helping you perform meaningful daily activities – regardless of the disability you’re facing. OT focuses on helping people adapt to and perform the activities of daily living more easily.

Occupational Therapy Plays a Role in:

  • Reducing the likelihood of hospitalization or readmission.
  • Decreasing the likelihood of contractures and joint deformities.
  • Improving resistance to infection via activities proven to enhance immunity.
  • Combatting disruptions to one’s mood as a result of social isolation.
  • Addressing occupational deprivation and helping establish habits, roles, and routines.
  • Promoting participation in educational, play, and learning activities in the home or school.
  • Increasing independence.

Often occupational therapy treatments for children look a lot like play. Play therapy actually guides children and young adults towards improved school performance, expanded ability to complete daily activities, boosts in self-esteem, and feelings of a sense of accomplishment. 

How OT Can Help

With OT, children and young adults can:

  • Develop fine motor skills.
  • Improve eye/hand coordination.
  • Master basic activities of daily living.
  • Learn positive behaviors and social skills.
  • Take advantage of special equipment to help build their independence.

Occupational therapy practitioners work in a variety of settings and treat populations that present unique challenges. Occupational therapy can address:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease/Dementia
  • Anxiety/Post Traumatic Stress Disorders
  • Brain Injuries/Concussion
  • Chronic Conditions
  • Cognitive Disorders
  • Depression
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Fall Prevention/Balance/Vertigo
  • Fine Motor Skills 
  • Joint/Musculoskeletal Disorders
  • Pain Management 
  • Sensory Processing Disorders
  • Visual/Perceptual skills

No question or symptom is unimportant to us! Our mission is to enable people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health and prevent or better accommodate illness, injury or disability to improve the quality of daily living.

If you’re in the Kalamazoo, MI, area and have questions about occupational therapy, call us at 269-544-2901 or email us.