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What Is The Difference Between Occupational Therapist And Physical Therapist?

occupational therapist vs physical therapist

Occupational Therapist vs Physical Therapist: A Detailed Analysis Of Their Differences

The terms “Occupational therapists” (OTs) and “physical therapists” (PTs) are common in the medical areas. They play different occupational therapist vs physical therapist duties. They both assist patients to regain their freedom and enhance their standard of living. However, their practice could be comparable in some areas of the treatment.

This article clarifies the “what is the difference between occupational therapist and physical therapist” while allowing you to make more educated decisions about your rehabilitation needs. These differences will guide you in choosing the appropriate therapy for you.

Understanding Occupational Therapists vs Physical Therapists

An Occupational Therapist is a healthcare professional. They help people to overcome challenges for everyday performance activities. They teach new techniques and use specialized tools as well as equipment.

The duties of Occupational Therapists include the following:

  • Assesses the livelihood and working situations of an individual.
  • Creates personalized treatment programs to enhance everyday behaviour abilities.
  • Test and analyze the physical and emotional activities of patients.
  • Maintain necessary records of patients.
  • Supervise assistants to ensure treatment protocols.

Physical Therapists are medical professionals who assist patients with injuries, manage chronic diseases, and enhance mobility through exercise, hands-on therapy, and specialized equipment.

The duties of Physical Therapists include:

  • Consult with patients to understand their physical condition and symptoms.
  • Identify movement inhibited and create treatment plans.
  • Teach patients therapeutic exercise techniques.
  • Provide stimulation or massage to promote healing.
  • Review the medical histories of a patient.

occupational vs physical therapist

Basic Differences Between Occupational Therapist vs Physical Therapist

OTs and PTs are fundamental medical care experts and play distinct roles in helping patients recover from injuries, manage chronic conditions, and improve their overall quality of life. While their work might cover certain areas, there are huge contrasts in their concentration, treatment approaches, and objectives. The following are the most basic differences between OTs and PTs:

Qualifications And Experience

OTs normally have a master’s degree in occupational therapy. In this initiative, doctoral programs are becoming more frequent. They must perform substantial clinical fieldwork as part of their lessons. They are trained to evaluate and treat patients completely. They focus on their capacity to conduct daily tasks.

PTs must also hold a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy from a recognized college. PTs, like OTs, must complete clinical rotations and hands-on training. Physical therapists detect physical abnormalities and movement dysfunctions. They concentrate on increasing physical mobility and function.

Scope Of Practice

Occupational therapists assist patients do daily activities independently and easily. They work with all ages patients to overcome their physical, cognitive, and emotional challenges. It restricts their capacity to engage in daily activities. It used such common therapies including teaching adapting strategies, prescribing assistive devices, and changing the environment to increase independence.

Physical therapists asses as well as monitor the fitness progress of a patient with the help of therapeutic exercises and techniques. They help to improve movement and manage functional mobility proceeds such as muscle weakness, joint stiffness, and balance deficits. In addition to this, PTs frequently work with patients to recover from surgery, injuries, or neurological problems. It enhances their strength, flexibility, and mobility.

Treatment Focus

OTs use interventions of splinting, ergonomic examinations, and cognitive rehabilitation strategies. They implemented activities of daily living (ADLs). It helps patients to overcome their mental ability. This promotes good health and positive well-being in everyday life.

They evaluate and provide treatment for persons with health problems and disabilities from injury, disease, overuse of muscles or tendons, pain, or loss of a body part. They specialize in physical movement and functional quality of life. It increases mobility and alleviates pain. They work closely with patients through personalized exercise programs. It regains a varied range of motion, strength, and capacity.

Community Preferences

OTs treat patients of any age, from newborn children to the old. They assist individuals with various illnesses, for example, formative deferrals, neurological problems, emotional well-being issues, and actual wounds.

PTs work with patients, all things considered, and spend significant time in outer muscle wounds, neurological illnesses (like stroke and spinal line injury), and muscular systems. They often work at offices like short-term facilities, medical clinics, and restoration focuses.

Collaborative Approach

OTs interact with other healthcare professionals. For instance, physical therapists, speech therapists, physicians, and social workers are their partners. They provide comprehensive patient care. It improves the ability of patients to participate in everyday activities and tasks.

Physical therapists work with occupational therapists and other experts. They handle a patient’s overall recuperation needs. It emphasizes restoring physical mobility and function. This assists a patient to go back to everyday life and work.

How Do You Decide If You Need PT or OT?

Why Do You Need Physical Therapists?

Physical therapy boosts physical function, mobility, and strength.

Movement Restriction

A Physical therapist helps you to increase your functional ability. So that you can forget your troubles while walking, standing, or maintaining balance.

Recovery From Surgery Or Injury

Physical therapy is frequently suggested through following operations like joint replacements or injuries like fractures or sprains. These improve the strength, flexibility, and emotional range of a patient.

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain eventually harms every aspect of a patient’s life and creates long-term disorders and bad outcomes. Physical therapists are accustomed to dealing with this. They trained different exercises and strategies to manage pain and function better for a patient.

Why Do You Need Occupational Therapists?

Occupational therapists assist patients in performing everyday activities independently.

Difficulty With Daily Tasks

Occupational therapy (OT) may assist you in performing daily activities because of injuries and other health issues, It teaches you adaptive skills and employs assistive technologies to become more independent.

Cognitive Or Emotional Barriers

Cognitive impairments are mainly memory loss, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, and depression. These can limit your capacity to function. Occupational therapy (OT) aids you in overcoming these challenges.

Chronic Conditions

A chronic ailment may decrease your capacity to participate in work, leisure, or social activities. Occupational therapy can help you to manage stroke recovery, mental health issues, and cardiac disease recovery.

Developmental Delays Of Children

Occupational therapy arranges collaborative activities that support teamwork and communication. These activities facilitate children with developmental delays or disabilities to develop social skills.

Improved Health Through Occupational And Physical Therapists

Both therapists at Advanced Medical Group offer different skills and approaches to patient care. OTs increase everyday independence and address cognitive and emotional barriers. Whereas PTs improve physical mobility and function through specialized therapy. These differences should be understood to receive the best therapies for your requirements.

Don’t wait! Consult a healthcare practitioner now to learn more about how occupational or physical therapy can benefit you!

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Fatima Shaik MD


Fatima Shaik is a board certified internist and cardiologist. She specializes in general cardiology and heart rhythm disorders. She cares for patients at Advanced Medical Group in Jersey City and North Bergen. She also performs procedures at Jersey City Medical Center.

She completed her undergraduate education at NYU and received her MD degree for SUNY Downstate Medical Center. She completed her residency training at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center and her cardiology fellowship at New York Presbyterian Queens. She went on for advanced training in electrophysiology at Cooper Hospital in Camden, NJ.
She is trained in device implantation, SVT and atrial fibrillation ablations as well as watchman implantations.
She is fluent in English and Hindi.
She is currently accepting new patients.

Reema Parikh, DPT

Physical Therapist

Reema Parikh received two bachelor’s degrees from Long Island University and Touro College, and graduated as a Doctor of Physical Therapy from Touro College in 2013. In her early years as a DPT, she received an award for excellence in research and taught a course for the national physical therapy licensing board exam. Dr. Parikh has a passion for helping patients on their health journey; she is experienced in all ages and care of patients, ranging from pediatric care to geriatric care. She has hosted live and virtual workouts for varying levels of physical activity, incorporating mobility and strength segments. Dr. Parikh has furthered her education by receiving certifications in many aspects of physical therapy and holistic care including Nutritional PT, Restorative Yoga, Pilates, and Reiki.

Ms. Maria Avila

Maria Avila, NP

Nurse Practitioner

Coming Soon


Jersey City

Union City

West New York

North Bergen

Jersey City

North Bergen

Aishwarya Parab, PT

Physical Therapist

Aishwarya Parab received her Bachelors in Physiotherapy in India in 2015 and furthered her studies at Long Island University where she graduated with her Masters in Exercise Science, Sports, and Nutrition in 2019. She has experience working with various conditions, including herniated disks, spondylolysis, and post-operative mobility issues. Aishwarya has taken courses to expand her knowledge in the physical therapy world, including spinal mobility courses, neuromuscular reeducation courses, and getting a certificate with Revolution in Motion. Aishwarya finds it exceedingly rewarding to build a long-term relationship with her patients and shows commitment towards providing structured and effective healthcare.

Dr. Prajakta Avhad

Prajakta Avhad, MD

Pain Management located in Franklin Township, Somerset, NJ & East Brunswick, NJ

About Dr. Avhad
Dr. Prajakta Avhad is double board-certified in Pain Management and Anesthesiology. Dr. Avhad received her M.B.B.S. from MIMER, India, and completed her Surgical internship and Anesthesia residency at Brookdale University Hospital in Brooklyn, New York during which she interned at Memorial Sloan Kettering, St. Luke’s Roosevelt, and Staten Island Hospital.

She then completed her Pain Management Fellowship from Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

Dr. Avhad is a diplomate of the American Board of Anesthesiology and a member of the American Academy of Pain Medicine.

Dr. Avhad has been in practice in Central and South Jersey for more than 12years. She is a caring physician with expertise and experience in treating a spectrum of Pain conditions like chronic back and neck pain, herniated discs/sciatica with minimally invasive interventional procedures.

Dr. Avhad and her family reside in New Jersey. She is an avid gardener active with her kids, dog, and garden if not tending to her broad and exotic orchid collection.

Radhika Patel PA-C

Radhika Patel, PA-C

Physician Assistant located in Jersey City, NJ

About Patel
Graduating summa cum laude from Rutgers University with a BA in Biological Sciences and minor in Spanish, Radhika Patel obtained experiences in outpatient medicine as well as in emergency medical services prior to pursuing a career as a physician assistant. She graduated from the Rutgers University Physician Assistant program with a Master of Science after training in cardiology, internal medicine, and urgent care, among many other fields at various hospitals and private practices throughout the state of New Jersey. She is a proud member of the team at Advanced Garden State Cardiology and looks forward to meeting with patients each day in our Jersey City office.

Enrique D Chappilliquen Lucio, PA-C

Enrique Chappilliquen, PA-C

Physician Assistant located in Union City, NJ & Jersey City, NJ

About Dr. Chappilliquen
Graduated from Mercy College Physician Assistant Program with a Masters of Science in Physician Assistant Studies, Enrique has extensive experience in the medical field for more than 6 years.

He has clinical experience and training in internal medicine, cardiology, general and vascular surgery, hematology, oncology, and emergency medicine. He joined Dr. Richard’s practice in October of 2016. Since then, he has been a dedicated medical provider working in the Union City office and the Hematology/Oncology office in Jersey City as well.

As a Hispanic, he proudly serves his community with passion and devotion. Being able to communicate fluently with his patients allows him the opportunity to provide excellent medical care to the Hispanic community in Union City and Jersey City. Also, sharing the same language, culture, and values as his patients allows him to connect at a personal level with his patients. Enrique continues to develop his knowledge and skills constantly to continue satisfying the needs of his patients.

Dr Christopher Samaniego, DPM

Christopher Samaniego, DPM

Podiatrist located in Jersey City, NJ, Union City, NJ, and West New York, NJ

Christopher Samaniego, DPM, is originally from Freehold, New Jersey. He attended college at Messiah College, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Biology. He earned his podiatric medical degree from Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine in Philadelphia, PA and completed his surgical residency training at Detroit Medical Center in Detroit, MI. 

Dr. Samaniego provides comprehensive foot and ankle care at Advanced Medical Group in Jersey City, Union City, and West New York. His specialized surgical training includes

  • Bunion
  • Hammertoe correction
  • Diabetic foot care
  • Fungal nail care
  • Plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, orthotics
  • Gout, warts, neuroma care
  • Flat feet and high arched feet
  • Foot and ankle trauma
  • Adult and paediatric foot conditions
  • Arthritis of the foot and ankle
  • Arthroscopy, joint replacement, minimally invasive techniques

Samaniego is a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons and the American Podiatric Medical Association. He keeps up to date on the latest surgical techniques and available technology in foot and ankle care.

Prior to joining Advanced Medical Group, Samaniego studied public healthcare in Zambia and assisted in providing care to the local community. He has also presented research at the annual meeting of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. Samaniego achieved the highest rank of Eagle Scout through the Boy Scouts of America and volunteered with Troop 454 for scouts with special needs and the Freehold Public Library. In his free time, Samaniego volunteers with his local church community service and youth programs.

Samaniego resides in Jersey City, NJ and maintains his health by cycling and interval training several times a week. He explains, “Healthy doctors inspire healthy patients. I follow the same advice I give my patients, and I read constantly to become a better physician every day. I encourage my patients to ask questions and learn about the cause of their symptoms. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Dr. Merwin Richard, MD. A cardiologist

Merwin Richard, MD

Cardiologist located in Jersey City, NJ & Union City, NJ

As an established board-certified internist and cardiologist, Merwin Richard, MD, has a reputation for helping patients with the most complex of health conditions. He cares for patients at Advanced Medical Group in West New York, Jersey City, and Union City, New Jersey.

Richard began his undergraduate education in medicine at Stanley Medical College in India. He earned his doctor of medicine degree from Tamil Nadu Dr. M.G.R. Medical University before relocating to New York City.

After completing both his internship and internal medicine residency through the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Dr. Richard went through advanced fellowship training. He completed a cardiovascular fellowship at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, then went on to finish a second fellowship in interventional cardiology through Mount Sinai School of Medicine (now Icahn).


Throughout his career, Richard has stayed involved in numerous research projects and previously served as a professor at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (now Rutgers University). Richard went on to become the director of the first cardiac catheterization and interventional laboratory in Jersey City and has extensive training in vein treatments.

To ensure he continues staying up to date with the latest research and techniques, Richard maintains his board memberships. He’s board certified through the American Board of Internal Medicine in cardiovascular disease and interventional cardiology.

Being fluent in English,  Spanish, and Tamil gives Richard the opportunity to communicate with patients from diverse cultural backgrounds. Richard is currently accepting new patients.