Difference Between Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy (With Table)

Nowadays, therapy has become one of the most effective ways to treat illness or disorders. Therapy is a medical treatment to help to provide remediation to a patient. Most therapies are related to mental problems or disorders, but it is not limited to this aspect only. There are other therapies as well that help in providing relief to the body. Example of such there pay is Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy. These therapies are related to the body, not the mind, where physical exercises are used as a medium to treat the injury. This type of therapy indeed provides great results, but if done wrongly, it can further cause harm to the body, making the injury worse.

Occupational Therapy vs Physical Therapy

The difference between occupational therapy and physical therapy is in the part of the human it is used for occupational treatment therapy treats the physical and mental aspects of the patient whereas physical therapy is used only for the treatment of physical parts. Occupational therapists deals with the mental problem and physical problems such as depression, stress, and normal activities, for example, guiding patient with the disorder to survive better in a normal environment, while physical therapists deal with the physical problems, such as diabetes, heart problems, and other bodily pains, for example when a sportsperson gets injured while playing is suggested physical therapy for the treatment.

Occupational Therapy is a profession where physical and cognitive problems, injuries are treated by providing therapeutic measures to the patients. It is also suggested for people who find it difficult to perform daily activities and chores. It is mainly sought by someone who is dealing with problems with mental and physical problems.

Physical therapy is a profession where only physical aspects of the body are treated. It is sought by someone who has undergone some serious injuries or suffering from some health-related issue, for example, diabetes. This therapy is not used for mental problem treatment. It is quite affordable in terms of cost.

Comparison Table Between Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy

Parameters of ComparisonOccupational TherapyPhysical Therapy
Associated withDealing with stressful and health-related issues.Treating chronic physical injuries.
ReducesAny mental traumaAny physical injury.
ExerciseNormal things or activitiesMore intense exercise depending on their injury
Seek byA patient dealing with mental issues, etc.A patient who is differently-abled or wants to improve their lifestyle.
AffordabilityLess affordableMore affordable

What is Occupational Therapy?

Following are some of the benefits Occupational Therapy provides:

  • Helpful in struggles: this is the main part of occupational therapy; they help to make the struggle of the person easier in doing simple and daily activities.
  • Prevents fall: many people after a certain age are more tend to fall. Most of the time, it is not a big issue, but at a certain time, it can lead to some serious injuries. Occupational therapists teach their patients how to prevent these falls by teaching some basic activities.
  • Memory rehabilitation: occupation therapy is linked with more mental benefits than it provides physical benefits. They evaluate their cognitive skills, and in case of mental illness such as depression or stress, they talk with them to find out the core of the problem to provide a more suitable solution.
  • Home and environment modification: they also provide certain modifications in the environment and home/office of the patient to maintain the wellness of the patients. It is helpful to provide a suitable environment for them.
  • Recommended for dementia: although once it happens after getting old, it cannot be treated completely, occupational therapy can indeed help in living a better life while suffering from the problem.

What is Physical Therapy?

Physical Therapy is beneficial for the following reasons:

  • Reduce pain: physical therapy helps eliminate or at least reducing pain. They help them by proper exercising and changes in regular life to reduce the pain and also can prevent it from coming back.
  • Avoid Surgery: in many cases, as it reduces and eliminates pain. Due to this, it can also reduce the chances of surgeries. Not only this, but it is also recommended to perform some pre-surgery physical therapy, so there won’t be any after-effects of it.
  • Sports Injury Recovery: this is the therapy recommended for the sportsperson who has recent undergone any sports injury.
  • Manage physical health: this is mainly used for maintaining physical health. This also includes diabetes and other diseases that may impact the health and daily life of the person.

Physical therapy can also be done by a professional and experienced person; a proper degree along with a license is required for performing physical therapists as a career. It is necessary for the differently able people. It helps them perform certain regular activities or daily chores easily.

Main Differences Between Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy

  1. Both of them aim at different goals. The main aim of Occupation Therapy is to improve the functional abilities of a person by making a person learn how o focus more, whereas Physical Therapy aims at improving the normal dysfunction of the body caused by injuries or some other problems.
  2. Occupational Therapy is more related to the mental illness or disorder of the patient and some serious health conditions such as stroke. It can also use for treating chronic health disorders as well, whereas physical therapy is associated more with the physical problem of the patient, such as back pain, osteoarthritis, Parkinson’s disease, etc.
  3. Both of them deal with different aspects. Occupational therapy helps treat situations such as where a person is unable to deal with a stressful situation. It is treating patients for day-to-day activities, while physical therapy is provided to help reduce pain and restore the normal function of the patients.
  4. During treatment occupation therapy doctor can also suggest some changes in the daily routine of the patient, for example, recommending adaptive tools to improve the conditions, while physical therapists can provide education guidance and counselling to improve the overall development of the patient.
  5. When compared in terms of affordability, occupation therapy is quite expensive and cannot be afforded by everyone, while physical therapy is relatively more affordable and can be affordable by a comparatively large population.


Therefore, it will be easy to distinguish between both therapies on the basis of the above information. They both are similar as they are used to treat physical injuries; both of them are only provided by expert and experienced people, they help people live a better life by treating their physical discomfort, etc. both of the therapies cost depends upon the therapists mainly, and it should not be done by any un-professional person. It becomes difficult to live a normal life with a bodily injury, and in such cases, these therapies play an important role in making life back to normal. Sometimes, these therapies help in the entire life of a person as exercise done during the session becomes the habit of the patient.


  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/1389861/
  2. https://jme.bmj.com/content/24/3/193.short
  3. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09638280600926702
  4. https://search.proquest.com/openview/51fc046ed163149eaf4367d77a2b779a/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=47699
  5. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/J006v11n04_01
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