Physiotherapists (PTs) and occupational therapists (OTs) play an important role in a client’s physical rehabilitation – the ultimate goal is to help them improve their physical capabilities as well as their overall confidence. As a physiotherapy assistant, you may meet with some clients who aren’t familiar with exactly what a PT or OT does, and may be nervous about starting a physical therapy session.
Whether you work in a private clinic, hospital, or home-care, you can help dispel some of the more common myths a client may be aware of, and make them feel more comfortable with the idea of physiotherapy as well as prepare them for their journey through PT or OT.
Read on to find out how your training can help you debunk some of these popular physiotherapy myths.
Myth #1: Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy are the Same Profession
Although both involve similar aspects and common goals, physiotherapy and occupational therapy are actually two separate career options.
While physiotherapy aims to improve a client’s strength, mobility, and range of motion, occupational therapy focuses on improving a client’s ability to perform activities of daily living (ADLs). They are simply two different steps of the healing process, where PT treats the actual impairment and OT helps clients process and integrate their impairment in a way that keeps them engaged, capable, and independent in their own daily life.
Myth #2: Occupational Therapists Are There to Help Clients Find a Job
While the word occupational is generally used in the context of a profession, you should tell clients it’s best to leave the resume at home.
In occupational therapy, the word is used to signify a common activity that a person is engaging in – this can be anything from standing to lifting to even buttoning a shirt. It’s used in the profession because occupational therapists are there to support clients in performing these daily activities, and re-learning how to do them independently, without assistance.
Myth #3: Grads of Physiotherapy Assistant Training Only Treat Injuries
The idea that therapy exists to treat injuries is common, but physiotherapists actually do much more than that. Physiotherapy assistant training includes important lessons on anatomy and physiology, so you can better understand how the body operates as a whole, including when it’s injured. An injury, in fact, doesn’t have to be necessary for PT or OT – some clients may simply be facing challenges as they grow older, and may need help improving their mobility or staying active.
Myth #4: A Physiotherapy Session Has to Involve Pain in Order to Work
Many clients may be worried that their physiotherapy will be painful. While pain is something that is associated with the injuries physiotherapy addresses, the treatment itself shouldn’t actually be painful.
As a PT or OT assistant, you should work within the comfort zones of your clients, so it’s a good idea to check in, ask questions, and encourage them to communicate during a session. The goal is always pain-free movement, and you should revise your techniques according to your training from an occupational therapy assistant program anytime a client experiences pain.
Myth #5: Students in Occupational Therapy Assistant Programs Focus on Exercise
Because of its focus on the movement of the body, some clients may assume that PT or OT may involve exercise. While it’s certainly a component than can help improve body movement as a whole, the amount of exercise can vary from client to client, depending on the nature of their injury or individual needs.
A client with a knee injury, for example, won’t need the same types of exercise as a client who has a shoulder strain. It’s important to remember that clients will have different problems that need different solutions, and exercise should be approached on a dynamic, one-on-one basis, not prescribed generally.
Are you interested in a hands-on career helping others?
Contact KLC College for more information about our physical therapy assistant training program.