Aquatic therapy is a form of therapy in the pool using specially designed activities to restore and increase a patient’s functional abilities. Aquatic therapy can offer many benefits to people as far as after surgery, injury or illness. During that time patients may have increased sensitivity to pain and the ability to weight bear on land may be painful due to restrictions or limited movement.
During therapy in a pool the water is warmer, therefore it facilitates muscle relaxation. The buoyancy of the water reduces the amount of weight bearing through the body, resulting in less pain for the patient making it easier to complete the exercises designed to promote functional abilities as well as to increase the healing time. While exercising in the pool the viscosity of the water also provides resistance for strength training.
Therapy in the pool can be beneficial to people of all ages. It allows patients to work on; muscle tone and strengthening, increasing cardiovascular function, decreasing swelling, increasing circulation, strength and endurance as well as range of motion, flexibility, balance and coordination. The three main goals of aquatic therapy are to restore functional ability of the body, maintain functional ability of the body and last to enhance the functional ability of the body.
Aquatic therapy can be prescribed to adults and children with many different conditions such as; back pain/spondylolisthesis/stenosis, chronic pain, injury from sports or daily activities, sprain/strains, joint pain/fibromyalgia/arthritis/osteoarthritis, total hip/knee/shoulder replacements, after surgery on back/hips/knees/ankles/shoulders/neck, prior to surgery, severe deconditioning/weakness, spinal cord injury, stroke, children with developmental disabilities, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, etc. Listed below are some examples of certain diagnoses and some of the things we work on in the pool to decrease pain and improve the functional ability of the patients. Each patient is evaluated before being treated, that way each patient has their own plan of care based on their needs not necessarily the diagnosis.