Hydrotherapy - Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation in the Pool

by Pool Builders on 09-24-2011 in Articles

Hydrotherapy (also known as Aquatic or Pool Physiotherapy) is a "hands on" approach utilizing unique features of water to facilitate normal movement patterns and mobility. It is a beneficial form of therapy that is useful for a variety of medical conditions. Hydrotherapy is performed in a thermo regulated hydrotherapy pool by registered physiotherapists and hydrotherapy instructors.

We often get asked if hydrotherapy is the same as Aqua Fit. No...It is a physiotherapy treatment just like on land. The physiotherapist is in the water with the patient mobilizing joints, working with the soft tissue guiding and monitoring movements.

Hydrotherapy treatment is performed in one on one setting or in small groups consisting of 3-4 patients. The session would start with some general warm up exercises, followed by more specific exercises tailored to each patient's problem or certain manual therapy techniques. The therapy session lasts about 45-60 minutes. Usually, extra time allowed in the pool for some additional exercise work or for swimming.

Benefits of Water

-Reduces the force of stress placed on the joints: it is safer and less painful to perform exercises.

-Water's buoyancy provides support needed for joint mobilization as well as easily adjustable resistance allowing strengthening of specific muscle groups

- Increases joint position awareness improving proprioception and motor control - Hydrostatic pressure helps to decrease joint and soft tissue swelling

- Warmth of the water assists in relaxing muscles and increases blood flow to injured areas.

Indications for Hydrotherapy

-Post surgical: fractures, joints replace spinal surgery where partial or non weight bearing is indicated. Hydrotherapy allows to start early weight-bearing , putting as little as 10% of bodyweight on a limb. The amount of weight bearing is determined by depth of the water where treatment is performed.

- Severe Whiplash or other Acute Pain - heated pool environment allows easier movement compared to exercise on land.

-Chronic Low Back Pain - hydrotherapy is excellent in improving core stability and lumbo-pelvic proprioception.

-Arthritic conditions such as Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis etc.

-Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue syndrome - allows a full body workout with low energy expense.

-Soft tissue injuries with significant range of motion limitation such as severe Frozen Shoulder.

-Balance disorders and fall prevention in Seniors

-General reconditioning including muscle strengthening and cardio-vascular endurance.

Contraindications for Hydrotherapy.

Hydrotherapy is generally very safe and suitable for all age groups. However, there are few medical conditions in which entry to the pool is prohibited:

-Open Wounds or Burns

-Unstable Fractures

-Incontinence

-Multiple Sclerosis which is sensitive to heat

-Severe Cardiac Problems

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