The added buoyancy in our aquatic physical therapy allows our therapists to treat spinal injuries, clients with non- and partial weight bearing status restrictions, COPD, muscular dystrophy, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease and many others.
Aquatic therapy is being used more often throughout the rehab process. It is beneficial for patients with osteoarthritis (OA), lower extremity disorders and low back pain. The first property of water indicates there is an upward thrust on an object submersed in water, equal to the weight of the dispersed fluid. Buoyancy, an upward thrust opposite to gravity, is related to the depth of the water and affects weight bearing. Therefore, exercises can be progressed eventually to land-based therapy once a greater weight bearing tolerance is reached. This works especially well for low back pain patients who are often limited in their weight-bearing tolerance. The buoyancy reduces the compression on the load bearing joints and spinal segments in the patient with degenerative joint disease (DJD).
Patients with fibromyalgia can also enjoy the benefits of water therapy. The combination of warm water and buoyancy encourages muscle relaxation and increased blood flow during slow and controlled movements.
Other properties of water involve the relationship of water’s pressure on an immersed object. This property helps to control swelling in an injured extremity and allows more comfort during exercises. And finally, the resistance water creates with movement creates and ideal exercise environment. By increasing the speed of movement of an extremity (body part) resistance is created for strength training, without stress to the joints that weights may cause in early therapy.
The diagnoses previously discussed are just the tip of the iceberg for aquatic therapy utilization. There have been many wonderful studies on aquatic therapy and the treatment of: spinal cord injury (SCI), patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), pediatrics, athletes, cardiopulmonary dysfunction, and osteoporosis. As a result, overall function, flexibility, stability and sense of well-being are greatly increased.
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