Do Occupational Therapists Only Treat Physical Injuries?


What areas are the specializations of occupational therapists? Is it the same as physical therapy? Well, there is a similarity. Both physical and occupational therapy can treat physical injuries but the focus of the treatment is very different.

An occupational therapist has to complete a 4-year degree program and get a license in order to be a certified occupational therapist. The main goal of occupational therapy is about helping a patient regain independence and performing daily occupation. This includes self-care skills, socializing, playing and many more. Occupational therapy helps patients with fine motor skills.

Occupational therapy has a lot to do with improving the physical actions and functions of a patient but this is very different from physical therapy. Physical therapy is more focused on treating the injury while occupational therapy is focused on treating the reduced function brought about by the injury. Occupational therapists want patients to be able to live their lives despite having an injury, disability or disorder.

Specializations Of Occupational TherapistsOccupational therapists are the ones who develop a personalized treatment program for every patient. This treatment plan has specific goals to achieve. The treatment plan can include exercises to gain range of motion, strengthening exercises, massage to reduce swelling and pain, wound care, skin care, splitting, workstation evaluation, home modification and functional ergonomics. If you have undergone surgery because of an injury, the occupational therapist will coordinate with your surgeon.

Aside from the physical aspects, occupational therapy also tackles mental, emotional and development disorders. People suffering from stress, mood disorders, eating disorders, depression, learning disorders, behavioral problems and mental illness are all helped by occupational therapy. Of course, the approach is more different. Occupational therapists will work with a psychiatrist to create the best treatment plan for the patient. When a person’s mind does not function the normal way, the physical functions of a person are directly affected. This is why occupational therapy works on enhancing the mind with activities. The more their minds are exercised, there will be enhanced movements.

Occupational therapists are integral in the healthcare industry because they can work with different patients, disorders and in different working environments. An occupational therapist can work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers and nursing homes. An occupational therapist working in the hospital helps patients who have just undergone surgery or suffered from a stroke. An occupational therapist working in nursing homes help the elders perform daily activities. Occupational therapists can work in schools to help children with orthopedic disabilities.


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