Understanding the differences in occupational rehab therapy and physical therapy

Occupational Rehab

Occupational rehab therapy is a great option for people who may want or need to get back to work with small modifications to their daily routine. While physical therapy works on strengthening the muscles, an occupational therapist will help the patient with the specific daily tasks required to be able to perform daily work functions. Continuum Wellness is here to help explore some of the differences between occupational rehab and physical therapy.

Where physical therapy starts

After a severe traumatic injury, patients will often begin with physical therapy treatments to recover strength. Once strength and stability has been built, the occupational therapist can work with the patient on the specific tasks. This may include fashioning or providing modified tools to help the patient. For example, a larger pen may be given to help a stroke patient practice writing or an extendable tool to help with eating or cooking.

When occupational rehab is prescribed

Occupational rehab therapy is often prescribed for patients who have a permanent disability and a complete recovery may not be possible. These conditions may include:

  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Amputation
  • Arthritis
  • Head injury

In some of these cases, rebuilding strength may be less of an issue than being able to modify what the body can already do to perform the tasks that many of us often take for granted.

Work hardening

Work hardening concentrates on helping the patient recover sufficiently to return to their job. This specialized occupational therapy simulates job functions that can be overseen by a physical therapist. The risk of re-injury is minimized while learning how to perform these job-specific tasks, which may include proper lifting techniques and proper bending form.

Occupational rehab therapy with Continuum Wellness

The goal of both physical therapy and occupational rehab is to help patients regain as much quality of life as possible. People can often feel discouraged when they are unable to work or perform their daily routines. Continuum Wellness is passionate about helping patients. If you or a loved one has recently suffered a severe traumatic injury, contact one of our friendly patient coordinators today to set up your initial appointment.