Physical Therapy vs. Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapist and patient


Most people know someone who has either gone to physical therapy or occupational therapy at some point in time, but not everyone knows the difference between the two.

To put it simply, a physical therapist works with patients to improve mobility and strength, while an occupational therapist helps patients to complete everyday tasks.


What is Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy is designed to help patients increase mobility after suffering from an injury or a condition.

A physical therapist may work with patients who are recovering from surgery or injury, or managing a condition that affects their mobility.


What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy helps patients who want to get back to their day-to-day activities. It tends to focus more on developing fine motor skills. Many people go to occupational therapy to be able to get back work – hence the name occupational therapy.  

An occupational therapist may help patients with day-to-day activities such as getting dressed, driving, going grocery shopping, and more.


What Type of Therapy is Right for Me?

Whether you need physical therapy or occupational therapy will depend on what you are wanting to treat and the lifestyle you want to get back to.

Physical therapists may treat patients who are experiencing the following:

If you have experienced any of the following and it is limiting you in your day-to-day life, occupational therapy may be right for you:


If you or a loved one need physical therapy, seek help from one of our physical therapists located in Nashville or Franklin, TN. If you need occupational therapy, research the best occupational therapists near you.


Marina von Rutenberg Marina is the Marketing Coordinator for Elite Sports Medicine + Orthopedics. She has been writing and reviewing medical content since 2021.

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