You might have had a physical injury and now on recovery, and you might be wondering, “Do I need Physical therapy or Occupational Therapy to get better faster?” You are not alone. People often confuse physical therapy with occupational therapy. And for good reason.


They are both hands-on rehabilitative practice to help you get back to your normal way of life, able to do everyday tasks as independently as possible after your illness.

So how do you know if you need one or the other?


The main difference is that physical therapy focuses on helping you improve the physical movement of your body while occupational therapy focuses on helping you do activities of daily living.

Physical therapy’s primary goal is to help you get moving with exercise, massage and other techniques and regimen.

Occupational Therapy deals more with holistic approach helping you engage fully in your daily life.

So let’s say you had a stroke causing you limited movement in your arms,  your physical therapist will help you create a program of exercise, stretches and other regimen that may help you speed up your recovery and help you gain the ability to move your arms better.

Your occupational therapist, on the other hand, will work with you to improve your ability to do basic skills that the stroke may have impaired like bathing, eating, dressing yourself.

See the difference now?


But while they are vastly different in their roles and focus, they also overlap on certain areas:

  • They both help educate you on the prevention of injuries
  • They both help you gain a better understanding of your healing process
  • They both help improve your ability to get back to a functional, normal life able to perform tasks on your own.

So back to our stroke example,oftentimes, you start of with physical therapy to help you get back the use of your muscles  with exercise, some techniques and regimen including massage.

They help you also to avoid further injuries and even reliance on long-term medication.

And then you progress with occupational therapy to help you use those muscles in doing activities of daily living like eating, bathing, dressing yourself up, etc., activities you now might have a hard time doing because your arm has been affected with the stroke.

They are done either separately or together at the same time, maybe according to your progress.


Yes, your progress is their shared goal even though they may work separately and with a different focus from each other.

So when we have your progress as the ultimate goal, the question may not be “Do I need Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy?”.

The question you may need to ask yourself is “Can I improve better and faster if I both have physical and occupational therapy?” (That is, if both therapy are recommended for you, of course.)

And the answer would be definitely yes.

If you want to know more about the specific services we have for both Physical and Occupational Therapy Brooklyn, don’t hesitate to contact us.