Aquatic or water therapy involves an exercise program conducted in a heated pool. This provides buoyancy, as well as warmth for the patient who is recovering from surgery and/or injuries. Patients with arthritis, back pain, leg, shoulder and arm pain, fibromyalgia, ligament and tendon problems, as well as other injuries can use aquatic therapy.

The pool is usually heated to 90 to 94 degrees Fahrenheit to provide relaxation for the body. In other words: it feels good! The warmth also provides vasodilation of blood vessels that increases blood flow to injured or painful parts of the body. It is very helpful in the treatment of muscles spasms, fibromyalgia, and back pain.

Aquatic therapy is an excellent form of therapy that often prepares patients for more vigorous exercise programs out of the water. Athletes also use this during training to treat muscle stress or recover from injuries.

Benefits of Buoyancy and Viscosity

The water cushions the body and prevents stress on joints. It decreases the pressure of weight-bearing by supporting the body. In fact, water can reduce a person’s weight by up to 90 percent.

Patients with bone fractures may frequently use aquatic therapy. It allows them to exercise without putting too much pressure on the injuries.

The viscosity of the water provides resistance. Anyone who has participated in water aerobics or water conditioning knows how the resistance provides a good workout while the body is supported by the water. The same concept applies to milder physical therapy rehabilitation in warmer water.

Viscosity also helps to strengthen muscles without the use of weights. Patients may use the same very light “water weights” used in water aerobics classes. These devices strengthen the arms and shoulders. They may also use floats or Styrofoam noodles to assist with the water therapy regimen.

Walking in warm water is frequently part of rehabilitation programs to strengthen the legs, ankles, as well as knees. Aquatic therapy can be used for patients who have experienced knee surgery or even knee replacement. This provides a comfortable exercise with less stress on the joints and lower body.

Benefits of Hydrostatic Pressure

Decreased swelling in joints and improved joint awareness result from the hydrostatic pressure of water therapy. This is a better proprioception for the patient with joint swelling and other injuries.

The medical term proprioception refers to the ability of the body to automatically adjust to the environment. It enables you to walk without thinking about your space. Sensitive nerve endings in muscles and joints send a message to the brain indicating the position of the body.

People with balance issues, leg, and joint swelling can be helped through the hydrostatic pressure in the water. Torn ligaments, joint sprains, and other injuries often result in loss of balance. It can be difficult to walk properly and automatically adjust to the surroundings. The hydrostatic pressure produces a force that is perpendicular to the body. This is part of the water’s support mechanism. As a result, a patient can move about carefully in the water and relieve some soft swelling around joints. This is also a way to carefully treat major sprains and torn ligaments and regain a sense of balance.

Aquatic Therapy is a Starting Point

Many patients move on past water therapy to programs on land in our gyms. Their muscles have improved through aquatic therapy programs, and they are ready for a more intense rehabilitation program. We work with doctors to assist patients with the right physical therapy program to restore their baseline mobility.

Contact us today at Cawley Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation for information on our customized physical therapy programs. This includes aquatic therapy in our special pools. Email or call 570-208-2787 in Pittston. We also serve patients in Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Carbondale, Kingston, as well as Nanticoke.