If you’ve been told that you may need therapy to facilitate your recovery from an illness, injury or surgery, you might be wondering what kind of therapy you need. In general, there are two kinds of therapy available, physical and occupational therapy. Around the time of World War I, both types of therapy were referred to as reconstructive aides, with no distinction being made between the two. In the decades since, physical therapy and occupational therapy have evolved into separate practices.

The Purposes of Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy

The purposes of physical and occupational therapy is the main difference between them. The goal of occupational therapy is to enhance a person’s ability to perform routine activities of daily living. The purpose of physical therapy is to help a patient to improve his or her gross motor function. Whereas occupational therapy focuses on fine motor skills and cognitive function, physical therapy concentrates on improving how a person is able to move.

Physical therapy often attempts to help people improve their strength, balance and range of motion. Occupational therapy is usually designed to assist people with their engagement in various activities, such as self-care, homemaking, play and socialization. Occupational therapy may also help people with their abilities to solve problems, remember things, maintain organization, interact with others and adhere to a routine.

Where Physical and Occupational Therapy Intersect

While physical and occupational therapy have different purposes, the two fields are similar in many ways.  Both kinds of treatment attempt to teach people how they can prevent injuries and facilitate healing, for example. Physical and occupational therapy are both geared toward enhancing the quality of a patient’s life as well.

Depending on what has caused a person to undergo therapy, the individual may receive both kinds of therapy at the same time or the patient may start with physical therapy and then progress to occupational therapy. Patients who’ve suffered severe strokes are good examples of people who will likely undergo physical therapy to rebuild strength before they move on to occupational therapy to practice the skills they’ll need every day, such as bathing and dressing.

Educational Requirements

The education that’s necessary to become a physical or occupational therapist is an area in which the two fields are similar and different. Both occupations require bachelor’s and advanced degrees. Physical therapists need to attain a Doctorate in Physical Therapy, which generally takes around three years to complete. Occupational therapists need to earn a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy or a Doctorate in Occupational Therapy, which can take anywhere from two to three years depending on the degree a person pursues.

Physical and Occupational Therapy at Methodist McKinney Hospital

Whether you need physical therapy, occupational therapy or both, you can get the therapy you require through Methodist McKinney Hospital. The physical and occupational therapists at our facilities are highly trained experts in their respective fields. Our therapists use state-of-the-art equipment at each of our eight area physical therapy clinics.

To learn more about the physical and occupational therapy services we offer, we encourage you to contact Methodist McKinney Hospital today.