Similar to a physician who may specialist in knee replacement or cataract surgery, therapists also focus on a certain specialty in order to provide their patients with highly knowledgeable care about their specific focus. At OrthoRehab PT, we offer physical therapy services to our patients, but we also have connections in the occupational and speech therapy worlds because oftentimes multiple types of therapists are needed for the same patient.
So what do each of these different specialists bring to the table, and who is best able to help you following an injury or disability? We take a closer look at the differences between occupational therapists, speech therapists and physical therapists in today’s blog.
Since this is a physical therapist blog, let’s start with what physical therapists do. Physical therapists are mainly concerned with treating the source of your injury, instead of treating the total fallout from the injury. What we mean by that is we’re focused on evaluating and treating conditions that affect your muscular, skeletal and nervous systems. Our goal is to help you physically recover as much as possible from your injuries. For example, if you herniate a disc in your back, our goal is to help you regain mobility and strength in the area while helping you progress through your recovery.
An occupational therapist isn’t a person who helps someone who was injured at their job, although they certainly do work with employees who suffer injuries. The “occupation” in occupational therapist actually refers to daily tasks that occupy our time throughout the day, like cooking a meal, driving a car or any day-to-day activity that helps us maintain our quality of life. Instead of focusing on the specific injury, an occupational therapist focuses on the daily lifestyle impact the injury has had on the person. They use therapy techniques to help a person regain independence by helping them find ways to overcome the effects of their injury.
A speech therapist, also known as a speech language pathologist, works to improve a patient’s ability to communicate or swallow. Sometimes they work in the school system with young children with speech impediments or delays, and other times they work in a medical setting helping individuals in the aftermath of a stroke. They deal with a wide variety of patients in terms of age and diagnosis, and they help with a number of different aspects of their speech. Their services can be habitative, meaning that they help maintain or improve current communications skills, or rehabilitative, in that they help a patient regain what has been lost.
So if you need help with a physical injury, we’d be more than happy to help you make the fullest physical recovery possible. If you need other rehabilitative services, we know more than a few highly qualified professionals. Contact us at OrthoRehab PT for more information.
PT of Costa Rican National Soccer Team for 2007 World Cup in Victoria, CAN. Clinical Instructor for University of Minnesota Doctor of Physical Therapy Affiliations
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