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Aquatic Therapy Ideal for Patients Living with Chronic Pain

Publish Date: Thu, June 01, 2017 - 10:27:00


By Kara Morales, MS, PT, ATRIC

Pain is often a constant for many living with arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic joint pain and obesity. The pain and balance issues that come with some of the conditions not only provide barriers to traditional exercise, but also to participating in traditional physical therapy to alleviate the pain.

But aquatic therapy is different. The buoyancy of the water is the key component that makes exercise and physical therapy possible in the pool, when it isn’t on land. The buoyancy makes patients feel lighter, eases stress on the joints, allows patients to move without fear of falling and alleviates pain during the physical therapy session.

It can be especially helpful to patients who have not been bearing weight on a joint. The unique properties of the water allows them to exercise the muscles, build strength and eventually transition to land for a full recovery.

For patients with spinal stenosis, a degenerative condition of the spine, walking can be limited to 5-10 minutes at a time on land. But in an aquatic therapy session, they are able to walk 10 to 15 minutes initially and progress to 30 minutes over the course of treatment.

During aquatic therapy sessions patients work one-on-one with a physical therapist. All exercises are done in waist- to chest deep water and patients don’t even get their hair wet. For patients with a fear of the water, they begin exercises on the pool wall until they become comfortable with the pool. Physical therapists work with patients to create a unique set of exercises for their specific condition to return them to their prior level of functioning and alleviate pain.

Sessions are held at the Moline YMCA, which Rock Valley Physical Therapy rents for physical therapy sessions as well as in-clinic at the Davenport location on Northwest Boulevard. At either location, you can be assured that you won’t be sharing the pool with lap swimmers and kids doing cannon balls!

If you suffer from chronic pain, a degenerative condition or have tried other forms of physical therapy that haven’t worked, contact Rock Valley Physical Therapy today to see if aquatic therapy could be right for you.

To learn more about our aquatic therapy programs download the aquatic therapy brochure or request an appointment online

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