Aquatic therapy is a valuable and functional tool for working with patients on flexibility, strengthening and ambulation. Using the pool is an appropriate option when a patient is not making the progress expected in a land-based environment due to pain, ROM or functional limitations. By using the buoyancy of the water, we can adjust weight bearing on the spine and joints from 50% at a water level that is waist-high, down to completely non-weight bearing in deep water. Most patients rehab at 30% weight-bearing or chest-level depth which provides the ideal amount of work, decreased stress and stability during treatment. A patient’s program often includes different depths of water to create different challenges in their program. Patients can often make physical gains faster in the pool which results in more confidence and optimism in their progress. This can then be carried over to their land-based program and aids in overall progress towards a better quality of life.
Benefits of Pool Therapy
- Decreased stress on joints (up to 90%)
- Movements are easier in the water
- Decreased pain from joint restriction and muscle spasm
- Improved movement results in increased range of motion, flexibility, and circulation
- Safe place to exercise
Our pool therapy is held at a local indoor pool facility where the pool temperature is a comfortable 85 degrees. This location is ideal for patients who may need assistance entering the pool. There is a staircase and/or chair lift available for pool entry.
Appropriate Patients for Aquatic Therapy:
- Low Back Pain
- Chronic Pain
- Injured Athletes
- Deconditioned Patients
With aquatic therapy, resistance is produced through the viscosity of the water. Pace of the activity and the different equipment used can vary the resistance. This results in strength and stability improvements which can allow for transition toward land-based goals.
Modification of exercise can be from a low-level activity such as gait training/walking to higher level activities such as deep water running or plyometrics. Balance, ROM, strength and aerobic conditioning can also be addressed in the water.