Occupational therapy and its comparison with physical therapy 


Occupational therapy is apt for those who are willing to do new tasks and want to perform everyday activities but are not able to do so. So, these people need occupational therapists. Occupational therapists work on the problems faced by the people due to some illness or either recovery from surgery, trauma, or any other medical events.
There is no age limit set for occupational therapy. This therapy can be taken by people belonging to any age group. They can be children, teens, adults, and oldies.

Occupational therapists focus on improving an individual’s ability to do occupations. Here occupations mean daily life tasks and activities. Occupational therapists provide their services to persons with disabilities and elderly people who are unable to function normally due to changes in their health due to age or any medical factor.

Many people have confusion between occupational therapists and physical therapists. They don’t even understand whether they need a physical therapist or occupational therapist.

An occupational therapist can work efficiently without a physical therapist and the same goes with the physical therapist.

There are some conditions where you only need one of them and in some situations, a need for both emerges.

Now it’s the time to brush off the myths and give a crystal-clear answer to all your doubts.

Let us learn about the similarities first.a

Occupational and physical therapists both have the same objective of the work. Both work for better functioning and help during the recovery of the patients.

Both aim to improve the quality of life of the patient.

Both deal with the patient’s recovery from any kind of medical condition.

Both work on muscle issues like reduced flexibility, limited range of motion, and muscle endurance.

We see occupational therapists mainly therapizing the children. Physical therapy offers its services to anyone who is suffering from any injury, pain, and other serious medical issues.

Children with stunted growth or birth disabilities need therapists. Occupational therapists enable the children’s involvement in the school and promote fully functional movements and occupations. They promote the independence of the child.

A physical therapist handles children aging from birth to 18 years. They therapized the children with orthopedic, neurological disorders, health-related and developmental disabilities.

But the approach applied by both the therapists is quite different.


Occupational therapists work on fine motor skills, while Physical therapists work on gross motor skills.

We will now establish the detailed work structure of both the therapists to understand the basic difference.

What do physical therapists do?

Physical therapists mainly focus on restoring mobility after injury or accidents. Other aspects that are managed by PTs are: pain management, preventing the symptoms, further prevention of the disease, guiding overall fitness, and maintaining functionality.

What do occupational therapists do?

Occupational therapists help in recovering from medical conditions like stroke or any medical conditions that create barriers in performing daily tasks. Occupational therapists work on neurological conditions like stroke, cerebral palsy, and developmental disabilities like autism, speech problems, intellectual disabilities, etc.
Other conditions that are also handled by OTs are pain management, mental health-related problems like depression/anxiety, arthritis, and dementia.

Physical therapist vs occupational Therapist  

 Physical Therapy                                    Occupational Therapy

Aims the movements like crawling, jumping, running, rolling, and similar activities that require large muscles and overall fitness Handles the working of specific movements like hand activities which involve writing, tying shoelaces, playing, etc.
Balance and gait disorders Promotes independence in usual work like feeding, dressing, using the washroom on your own.
Makes a child learn how to walk, do alignments evaluation Works on nervous systems and sensory organs like recognizing inputs and interpreting them accordingly.
Enable physical functions and movements Prepares for social, mental, emotional situations


The occupational therapist first evaluates your condition by examining your medical reports. So that they can have an understanding of your needs. Then after this work, your specially designed therapy will be provided by your therapist.

How do occupational therapists work?
Below mentioned certain things can be a vital part of your occupational therapy.

  • Helps in dominating hand and finger movements by teaching you to button your shirt, tying your laces, washing your face, etc.
  • Tries to make you walk and guides you to use wheelchairs, walkers, or other assisting tools.
  • Assess your home, school, or workplace to train you to manage your everyday life there.
  • Promotes independence by making you learn self-care routine habits like brushing, bathing, and toileting [other hygiene activities].
  • Educate you to handle stress and anxiety
  • Gives your caregivers, family, friends, and supporters lessons to help you in facing any difficulty during everyday activities.

Here we have read a full detailed description of occupational therapy as well as how it is different from physical therapy.
Both therapies have unique approaches and are efficient to be applied independently or combinedly.
Patients can take therapies either at the clinic or at home. If the patient is admitted to a healthcare facility or special schools, OTs can be taken there too.

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