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Difference Between Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation!

Difference Between Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation
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The difference between physical therapy and rehabilitation isn’t much understood, although the two terms are frequently used interchangeably. But there are several key differences between physical therapy and rehabilitation. 

More than 2.2 million people die as a result of hazardous working conditions every year. Other millions are at risk of suffering permanent harm. Fortunately, physical therapy plays a significant role in helping one’s abilities to be restored.

After a traumatic injury, you may be unable to move, lift, bend, push, or throw due to a sickness or injury. Everything becomes impossible for you to do. Fortunately, physical therapy aids in recovering your physical strength and function.

What precisely distinguishes physical therapy from rehabilitation? Continue reading if you want to discover the difference between physical therapy and rehabilitation.

What is Physical Rehabilitation? 

Rehabilitating anything means bringing it back to its original state. 

People with physical limitations can have their abilities restored and improved through physical rehabilitation. Injuries to the joints, bones, spinal cord, muscles, ligaments, and nerves account for the majority of these impairments.

Dr. Muhammad Khalid who is one of the best orthopedic surgeons in Pakistan says that this sort of therapy aims to increase patients’ independence. You can carry on with your regular life after completing a successful rehabilitation.

The breadth of rehabilitation is wider. It includes re-learning skills. Alternative methods of moving or accomplishing tasks are present as part of the treatment.

As part of the rehabilitation process, patients receive assistance in regaining their physical strength. The quality of life gets better for patients who complete the sessions. Regardless of the degree of injury, they learn to perform a number of tasks.

What Does Physical Rehabilitation Entail?

Physical rehabilitation happens over time. 

First Step: Acute Treatment

Acute treatment is the first step, which seeks to stabilize your condition. Acute treatment is required for serious injuries such as trauma, brain injury, and stroke.

Disclaimer: However, the first port of call for treatment of a broken bone or sprained ankle should be a doctor’s office. You should make an appointment with a therapist right away. The effectiveness of doctor’s care is significantly impacted by response time.

Second Step: Inpatient Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation inpatient is the next step. It aids patients in regaining autonomy and functionality. Patients in physical rehabilitation facilities can receive enough therapy time.

Physical therapists that specializes in rehabilitation personalize their care to the unique needs of each patient. 

You can quickly recover if you go for a walk with your therapist. Therefore, inpatient rehabilitation is crucial.

Final Step: Outpatient Rehab

Outpatient rehab is the final stage. It emphasizes function maintenance and enhancement. After receiving inpatient therapy, you should continue your therapy sessions in an outpatient setting. A patient can participate in daily or weekly therapies through outpatient rehab.

Taking a fitness class or joining a support group are examples of these therapy strategies. In addition to physical recuperation, you will generally feel well in life.

What Are the Main Types of Physical Rehabilitation? 

While each type of rehabilitation has a specific function in assisting a patient in achieving full recovery, they all ultimately aim to assist the patient in leading a healthy and active lifestyle once again. The three main types of rehabilitation therapy are occupational, physical and speech.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists (OTs) offer occupational therapy (OT) treatments to people who need specialized assistance to engage in regular tasks, or “occupations,” in their daily lives. 

In addition to work or your career, occupations can also relate to recreational hobbies, daily chores, and self-care routines. 

Helping people participate in the activities they need and want to perform to lead independent and fulfilling lives is the aim of occupational therapy.

What Do Occupational Therapists Do?

Occupational therapists assist by making adjustments to conditions that make it difficult for a person to perform activities including eating, dressing, brushing their teeth, finishing schoolwork, and working. 

Modifications can be made by altering the method used to do the activity, the setting in which it is completed, or by assisting someone in acquiring the skills required to carry out specific tasks.

Speech and Language Therapy

For persons with speech problems, speech therapists (also known as speech-language pathologists) offer treatment. 

Speech therapy treats numerous difficulties with language, communication, voice, swallowing, and fluency. 

A speech therapist can assist neonates who have disorders like cerebral palsy, cleft palate, or Down syndrome that make it difficult for them to drink, swallow, or communicate.

Exercises designed to improve communication can be beneficial for kids with speech disorders like lisping or stammering. Adults who struggle with learning or who suffer from a different illness such a stroke, head or neck cancer, Parkinson’s disease, or dementia might also gain advantage from a speech therapist’s assistance.

What is the Goal of Speech Therapy?

The purpose of speech therapy is to integrate language use and the mechanics of speech. The ultimate goal is to enable the patient to communicate in more beneficial and effective ways.

What is Physical Therapy?

So, what is physical therapy?

To put it simply, physical therapy is a part of physical rehabilitation. All facets of rehabilitation are referred to as physical therapy by government organizations. But it’s clear where the stacks differ.

Physical therapy treats dysfunctions and limitations brought on by a patient’s injuries. A patient’s functional abilities and mobility are improved by this treatment.

There are various manual treatment techniques used in physical therapy. These methods help patients’ soft tissues, and bones become more flexible and aligned.

It includes stretching, functional mobility exercises, gait training, balance training, and therapeutic exercises. 

The goal of treatment is to improve a patient’s function while minimizing pain.

Consider physical therapy if you have a spine injury, stroke, joint problems, or pain. Physical therapy speeds up your recovery from a spine injury. Additionally, it lessens the harm to your back and neck. 

Purpose of Physical Therapy

A physical therapist manages musculoskeletal problems in people. The professional possesses a unique set of abilities and knowledge. The majority of these doctors are employed in the medical field.

Physical therapists can also focus on orthopedics, pediatrics, wound care, and cardiac rehabilitation. A thorough consultation might help you find the ideal therapist.

The best physical therapists for musculoskeletal problems are chiropractors. Either a treatment facility or a private setting can provide you a tailored experience. Make sure you work with a specialist to receive high-quality care.

Physical therapists can also be considered educators. They educate patients about conditions-related difficulties and preventative measures. You can get advice on acceptable recreational activities from a therapist as well.

What Kind of Advice Can a Physical Therapist Offer?

Your physical therapist can offer advice if you’re uncertain how to handle neck pain caused by weightlifting. 

Patients receive guidance from a physical therapist regarding suitable home exercise regimens. You can quickly achieve lasting benefits by adhering to the plan.

Can Physical Therapy Help You With Diabetes?

Physical therapy benefits encompass almost all aspects of human ailments. For example, if you are diabetic, you can even get a personalized regimen of physical therapy exercises for diabetes.  

Physical therapists assist diabetics in engaging in safe, beneficial exercise regimens. 

Your blood sugar levels may be lowered as a result. Your physical therapist can assist you in enhancing your mobility, carrying out daily tasks, and reducing pain. 

Diabetes-related skin issues can often be treated more quickly with physical therapy than they would be without it.

Your physical therapist will review your blood glucose log and look for any injuries on your skin. They’ll also perform an exhaustive evaluation of your strength, flexibility, endurance, balance, skin response (especially in the feet).

The outcomes of these tests will be used to create a custom treatment plan that caters to your issues and requirements.

Where Can You Find a Physical Therapist?

Physical therapy treatments are available in a variety of locations. Rehab centers, medical facilities, clinics, and nursing homes are a few of these locations. 

A therapy gym is available in inpatient settings with the goal of enhancing patients’ physical capabilities.

Benefits of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation

So, now you must have an idea about the difference between physical therapy and rehabilitation. Let’s have a look at their benefits:

You Won’t Need Surgery

Physical therapy can be used to avoid surgery. A therapist can assist with both pain management and general recovery.

Physical therapy can make surgery more successful and manageable when it is unavoidable. Your healing will go more quickly. Additionally, your healthcare expenses will be lower.

Further Injury Can Be Prevented

Accidents can cause balance issues. By using physical treatment, you become less prone to accidents. 

Your equilibrium improves, and you are cautious around anything that makes your pain worse.

You will receive advice from a therapist on how to handle post-auto accident muscle discomfort. 

You can reduce how frequently you see your physical therapist for rehab if you have the correct information. You’ll be aware of the steps required for injury management and prevention.

Improves Mobility

Mobility is increased via physical therapy. 

A collision can make it harder for you to stand, walk, or move about. Additionally, you might need to take a break from recreational pursuits like riding and swimming. You can get workouts from a physical therapist to help you stretch and strengthen your muscles.

Mobility is also possible with the aid of mobility aids like crutches or a cane. Your physical therapist is knowledgeable about the equipment that will increase your capacity. 

You can get back to your regular activities a little quicker thanks to the personalized strategy.

General Well-being is Ensured

Physical therapy treatments are wonderful because they don’t require drug use. This complementary therapy strategy is long-lasting. Additionally, it has a big impact on a patient’s wellbeing.

Your body will adopt a healthy lifestyle when you complete your physical rehabilitation programmes. 

Regular exercise may help you feel fulfilled. In the end, you’ll live a healthy life and avoid the majority of potential lifestyle diseases.

Physical Therapy Vs Physical Rehabilitation: Key Differences

It can be perplexing because physical therapy and rehabilitation are sometimes used interchangeably. 

Physical therapy is but one component of rehabilitation, in essence. 

Physical rehabilitation, which includes physical therapy as part of your treatment, may be necessary if you are recovering from an injury, have undergone surgery, or have a medical condition that renders you disabled.

The Focus of Physical Rehabilitation Vs. Physical Therapy

The majority of physical rehabilitation work takes place in hospitals, including post-operative care and other critical situations.

The majority of physical therapy sessions are devoted to treating non-life-threatening ailments. The specialists typically focus on diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal ailments, including chronic mobility problems like arthritis as well as muscle aches, pains, strains, and injuries.

Work Environment

The work settings for physical therapy and physical rehabilitation specialists vary as well.

In hospitals, public or private clinics, different rehabilitation centers, and post-surgery facilities, physiotherapists work most frequently.

Physical therapists often exclusively deal with customers one-on-one in private clinics, gyms, specialty treatment centers, sporting venues, and private rehabilitation facilities.

Dr. Idrees Ahmed is a leading Physiotherapist based in Lahore, with seven years of experience in the field. He can effectively treat and manage all sorts of muscles, joints, and bone conditions through physiotherapy.


The difference between physical therapy and rehabilitation entails stark domains. Both are equally beneficial, depending on your state. 

After a serious accident, surgery, fall, illness, or other incidents that resulted in deconditioning, physical therapy can help you return to your previous level of function or your optimum potential.

You’ll gain more power, but you might also feel less discomfort and have better balance, endurance, and exercise tolerance. Physical therapy can help improve your home’s security, stop falls, and avert future hospital readmissions. 

If you want to consult a general physician from the comfort of your home, just go on to Healthwire.pk and book an appointment. 

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Is medical rehabilitation the same as physiotherapy?

The main goals of physical therapy are bodily strength and organ movement. Physical therapy may be necessary during the recovery process depending on the injury or disease being treated, although it is not required in every case.

What is an example of rehabilitation?

Exercises to improve a person’s speech, language and communication after a brain injury.

What does a doctor of physical medicine and physical rehabilitation (PM&R) do?

A physiatrist, or doctor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, addresses a wide range of illnesses that affect the brain, spinal cord, bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. Their objective is to enhance mobility and quality of life.

What does the term “physical medicine and rehabilitation” mean?

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), commonly referred to as physiatry, is a branch of medicine that focuses on helping patients regain function after being rendered incapacitated by a disease, illness, or accident.

What is the primary goal of physical rehabilitation?

The objective is to improve the patient’s physical health, quality of life, and general wellness while lowering their chance of suffering an accident or sickness in the future. People of different ages and with a variety of medical issues can benefit from physical therapy.

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