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Sheltering Arms Blog

Physical Therapy vs. Physical Rehabilitation – What’s the Difference?

types of physical therapy

Posted on: October 14, 2019 by Kiryako Sharikas

By: Grace Ryan, Rehab Tech

When we think of physical therapy, many people aren’t aware of all the different therapies and treatments that it includes. Many people associate physical therapy and physical rehabilitation as one and the same; however, physical therapy is actually under the umbrella of physical rehabilitation. So, what is the difference between the two and what are the different types of physical rehabilitation available?

What Are the Main Types of Physical Rehabilitation?

Merriam-Webster describes physical rehab as:

“A medical specialty concerned with preventing, diagnosing, and treating disabling diseases, disorders, and injuries by physical means (as by the use of electrotherapy, therapeutic exercise, or pharmaceutical pain control)”

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

The therapies used for treatment are intended to help improve your quality of life by restoring your body’s natural functionality. The injuries or illnesses treated could be affecting your joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, spinal cord, brain, or nervous system.

Rehabilitation can not only improve the physical aspect of your well-being but your mental and cognitive state as well. It should also be noted that treatments may differ by age, especially with pediatric and geriatric therapy.

Physical rehabilitation covers three major types of therapies.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy (PT) is the treatment of disease or injury with physical techniques such as exercise, cold and heat treatments, massage, and stretching. PT can be practiced in a hospital, an outpatient clinic, and even at home. It can help with conditions like arthritis, joint replacement, sports injury, knee pain, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and many more.

Click here to learn more about the different types of physical therapy and for more information about our Sheltering Arms ® Physical Therapy Clinics.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy (OT) is similar to physical therapy but focuses more on helping you become independent in performing activities of daily life (ADL). These activities may include brushing your teeth, getting dressed, or simply getting out of bed; each session is customized to your normal living behaviors. Many of the therapies and treatments may also be similar to those practiced with physical therapy. While PT focuses on improving the functionality of your body, OT focuses on the actual activity that you need or want to perform every day.

Click here for more information about our Sheltering Arms ® Occupational Therapy Clinics.

Speech and Language Therapy

Speech therapy focuses on the improvement of language, communication, swallowing, and fluency. One of the most common symptoms that we treat at Sheltering Arms is dysphagia, which refers to difficulty swallowing. Dysphagia can be caused by a stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, or healing from a physical injury and can affect your tongue, mouth, throat, or esophagus.

When your ability to speak properly is affected, this is called dysphasia. Some physicians may use the term aphasia interchangeably, while others use aphasia when referring to a total loss of the ability to speak.

Click here for more information about our Sheltering Arms ® Speech Therapy Clinics.

Want to learn more about the treatments that modern-day physical therapists use in the field? Click the link below!

Related Article: “A Detailed List of the Different Types of Physical Therapy Treatments