Aquatic Therapy takes advantage of the physical properties of water, especially buoyancy. When submerged in water, buoyancy supports a patient’s weight, facilitating exercise without the forces present with routine land-based programs, thus reducing joint stress. This aspect of aquatic therapy is especially useful for patients with arthritis, healing fractured bones, elevated pain, or who are overweight.
Aquatic Therapy can benefit a patient by reducing joint and tissue swelling from the natural pressure of water. In addition, the resistance of water allows a patient to achieve effective muscle strengthening with far less pain then land based therapy.
One of the biggest benefits of aquatic therapy which is commonly overlooked is the emotional component. This emotional boost occurs because people can do things in the water they cannot do on land. It gives the patient a quicker progression and vested interest in their recovery. The patient can see themselves walking without a limp or pain, squatting down, or standing on their toes.
The standard water temperature for aquatic therapy exercise is 92 degrees, allowing the muscles to relax in the warmth of the pool and decrease pain, especially with arthritis patients. Patients with muscle spasms, back pain, and neck pain find this aspect of aquatic therapy especially therapeutic.
Commons Diagnoses which Aquatic Therapy offers the most benefits:
- General deconditioning and weakness
- Total Hip, Knee, or Joint Replacements
- Walking and Postural Deficits
- Difficulty Walking or Weight-Bearing Capacity
- Extremity Injuries Preventing Exercise on Land
- Spinal Injuries Preventing Exercise on Land
- Vestibular or Balance problems
Where Do I Begin?
The first step in improving a patient’s quality of life is to schedule a physical therapy evaluation to capture an overall physical picture of their needs. From the evaluation a plan of care can be established to get them on the road to recovery.