What is Aquatic Therapy?
Aquatic therapy is physical therapy done in a warm water pool. Warm water creates an ideal environment for patients with painful joints and weak muscles. Our water temperature is approximately 93 degrees with an air temperature of 78 degrees. The water relieves pressure on the spine and lower extremities, which is useful for people with weakness or arthritis in their spine or legs, and provides assistance for the arms for people having difficulty lifting their arms due to shoulder or neck pain. The water provides resistance to strengthen weakened or painful muscles. The water’s hydrostatic pressure assists venous return (the return of blood to the heart) which helps with lower extremity circulation and leg swelling.
Who is Aquatic Therapy for?
Many people find they can exercise comfortably in the water when similar exercise is painful on land. People who make good candidates for aquatic therapy are those in need of physical therapy services but are unable to achieve their goals on land. Participants should enjoy being in the water and be ready to actively participate in their rehabilitation program. Patients with muscle spasms, back pain, Multiple Sclerosis and fibromyalgia find warm water therapy especially beneficial for their recovery and pain management.
What are the benefits of Aquatic Therapy?
The water supports a patient’s weight, which reduces stress placed on the joints. This is especially helpful for patients with arthritis or those who are overweight, healing fractured bones or recovering from surgery. Physical therapy can be started earlier in water than on land and an early start has enormous impact for pain relief, earlier joint movement and shorter healing times. Movement of afflicted joints is possible in water even if there is pain when the same movement is attempted on land. This is because the water supports the body and reduces stress to the joints so the muscles can be strengthened and tones while the injury heals. Exercising in the water strengthens weak muscles and can be used for balance training and postural awareness. Endurance improves as well. Aquatic therapy decreases pain and swelling which results in increased range of motion.
Physical Therapy for Sports Injuries
A good physical therapist is an injured athlete’s best friend. Many of the injuries sustained by athletes can cause long term pain, discomfort and immobility, and can even make it impossible to participate in sports temporarily or permanently. Timely and consistent treatment from a physical therapist can improve the odds of total recovery from many athletic injuries. After an athletic injury a physical therapist can design a specific treatment regimen to enhance the healing process and allow for a quicker and safe return to competition. Some treatment methods may include aquatic therapy, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, exercise training, and chiropractic adjustments.