There is often confusion about the difference between occupational therapy and physical therapy, and for good reason. The two practices are similar in many ways and have a lot of overlap between fields. The main difference is to recognize when trying to understand the difference between the two therapies is this: While occupational therapy strives to help people live as independently as possible, the goal of physical therapy is to assist an individual with pain relief and restoring motion and mobility. So how do you decide which is right for you?
In a general sense, we are more familiar with physical therapy then we are with occupational therapy. The reason for this is simple. While physical therapy is applicable to anyone after an injury or with a long term health problem occupational therapy is intended for individuals with long term mental and/or physical impairments or for those who have just experienced sudden health conditions like a stroke. This is where people get confused; one of the simplest ways to look at it is addressing the difference when considering chronic back pain. Does someone with chronic back pain go to an Occupational Therapist or a Physical Therapist?
Well the answer to that is it depends. Is that individual trying to relieve their pain and restore motion or is there focus on being able to live a relatively normal life with little or no assistance? While a physical therapist can help with pain relief an occupational therapist is trained to go a step further. Occupational Therapists are trained to help people find new ways and new tools to do challenging things in a new way. But modifying a physical environment to suit the needs of an individual is just one of the things that an Occupational Therapist does. Occupational Therapists are also trained to help people with mood disorders, personality disorders or drug addictions, to manage money, keep a daily planner and build social skills, in order to increase participation in a community and/ or help organize their life in a helpful way. Although the two seem so similar, they are really important separately in order to make a world of difference.
We feel like we have the best physical therapists around. Did you know you don’t need a referral to get help from a Physical Therapist? Direct access is available for you, please call us and set up an evaluation so we can help get you back on your feet. In Orange County we offer Physical Therapy in Chester, Goshen, Monroe, Port Jervis, and Montogmery. Westchester County has Physical Therapy in Armonk, Bedford, and Hawthorne. In Ulster County we offer Physical Therapy in Wallkill, while in Sullivan County you can get Physical Therapy in Ferndale. To round out our 12 locations in New York, those living in Rockland County can go to Physical Therapy in New City as well as Pomona. If you happen to live in PA, we also have Physical Therapy in Milford and Dingmans Ferry of Pike County. Give us a call today!