Aquatic physical therapy is a water-based therapeutic exercise aimed at improving functional activities. Water-based therapeutic exercises have shown efficiency at extension, restoration, as well as maintenance of quality functional ability.
Aquatic physical therapy is particularly recommended for persons with chronic, acute, or transient disabilities or a variety of physical injuries that inhibit their freedom of movement. Aquatic therapy is not to be confused with aquatic fitness, which is an aquatic exercise for general fitness.
Why Do Patients Need Aquatic Physical Therapy?
There are various reasons your physician can prescribe water therapy for you. Among the most common benefits associated with this kind of treatment include:
Immersion in water makes a patient more comfortable. A painful joint or back pain often reduces or disappears after feeling the weight relief in the water.
Improve Joint ROM
Water makes you lighter, allowing your body to achieve movements that were impossible to bear on land. The buoyancy effect of water reduces the pull of gravity or compressive force on your joints, thus reducing pain. With the ability to improve your joints’ range of motion (ROM), you can heal your tendons or repair muscle damage much faster.
For instance, completing exercises in waist-deep water can reduce the pressure on one’s joints by 50%, thus allowing for comfortable exercise. At shoulder depth, water reduces your body weight by 90%, allowing you to move your joints even more easily.
Enhancing Healing and Recovery
Whenever your body or part of it is in a pool of water, it receives hydrostatic pressure from the water. Hydrostatic pressure helps improve the circulation of blood and enhances the healing process. It also helps to reduce leg swelling and joint pains. Water therapy allows the patient to work on their range of motion and joint strength while decreasing pain and improving body functions. A patient following a THR and/or a TKR can utilize the effects of water to take the weight off of the surgical site.
Improve Balance and Confidence
Aquatic physical therapy provides an avenue for aerobic exercise, in which specific exercises can be modified for patients who lack balance or confidence with traditional equipment. Water provides support all around you, which can significantly reduce the fear of falling and provide a sense of security. Aquatic interventions are similar to traditional land exercises but may include flotation devices/assists for your protection. The goal of water therapy is to encourage the patient to perform gentle land exercises in the physical therapy gym, because that is when the most strength gains are attained.
Which Patients are Eligible for Aquatic Therapy?
- Patients with chronic pain syndromes, such as fibromyalgia.
- Orthopedic patients’ post-surgical lower extremity interventions, such as TKRs, THRs, foot-ankle surgery, as well as spinal surgery.
- People with arthritis or generalized deconditioning.
- Patients requiring pain management therapy.
- Patients with lower back pain.
- People with joint and leg swelling.
- Patients with neuromuscular diseases.
Patients suffering from many other ailments and injuries have benefited from water therapy as well. You do not need to know how to swim to be eligible for aquatic therapy.
Which Patients Should Not Engage in Aquatic Therapy?
Aquatics can provide great therapy for a vast array of physical conditions. However, there are patients that should not engage in aquatic therapy. Among them are:
- Patients with advanced cardio-pulmonary conditions, such as congestive heart failure.
- Patients who are prone to infections, including urinary tract infections (UTIs).
- People with open wounds/specific skin disorders.
- Patients prone to seizures/epilepsy.
How Do I Get the Appropriate Aquatic Physical Therapy?
It is always best to consider the experts first. At Cawley Physical Therapy and Rehab, we have the finest at water therapy. Whether you seek pain relief, ROM improvement, or regain strength and mobility, we have you covered.
We provide skilled, friendly, and attentive water therapy services to help you through your recovery or fitness journey. Schedule a meeting or PT examination today by visiting our website. You can also contact us or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.