Treating Osteoarthritis Through Pool Therapy
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So you’ve been prescribed exercise as part of your osteoarthritis treatment, and you wonder if it will help or hurt ? After all, given how painful it is when you normally move around, you might think exercise is going to do more damage than good. But if your doctor has done a thorough check and decided that your condition requires physical activity, then you can rest assured that exercise will help reduce your joint pain and inflammation. And with pool therapy - also known as aqua and water therapy - exercise can turn out to be a helpful, fun and relaxing experience.
Pool therapy involves the same exercises that you’d be typically required to do on land, but while partially submerged in comfortably warm water. When treating osteoarthritis, your physiotherapist will aid in in performing muscle-strengthening exercises in waist-deep water. Typically, the buoyancy of water counteracts gravity, thereby supporting your weight and removing any strain or stress on your affected joints. Moreover, the gentle resistance offered by water helps in keeping your balance when performing particularly tricky exercises.
One additional benefit that pool therapy has over traditional land exercises is that the mild hydrostatic pressure of water aids in the function of your heart and lungs, hence improving blood flow especially to the muscles and tissue around the affected joint. However, because of water’s effect on blood circulation, pool therapy isn’t recommended for patients of osteoarthritis that are also suffering from fluctuating blood pressure and heart problems.
Sadly, water therapy isn’t for everyone - patients with severe cartilage damage and chronic pain would likely be advised by their doctors to avoid any exercise at all, even when submerged in water. And if you’re down with a fever, or have an infection that will only exacerbate when in contact with moisture, pool therapy should be avoided at all costs.
If you’ve ever done a quick google search on the various joint pain treatments, you’ve probably come across plenty of articles that claim exercise is incredibly beneficial for patients. They’re not wrong, but they’re not giving the whole picture either. It really depends on how far one’s osteoarthritis has progressed and whether or not it's at a stage that doctors would recommend physical activity for. Rigorous exercise, whether they are land-based or part of the pool therapy regimen, can likely worsen the situation rather than remedy it. So to say, it's never safe to try pool therapy on your own - only if your doctor gives you the green light and your physiotherapist is with you at all times when in the water.
At the US Knee Center, our extensive team of specialists have the right training and qualifications to provide you with excellent medical care. Get the absolute best in treatment with us, and once again live a pain-free life. So contact us today for a free consultation, and book an appointment.