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Improving your Arthritic Pain with Aquatic Therapy

Warm Water Stimulates Balance and Lessens Pain

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. Some of the common arthritic symptoms are joint pain, stiffness, warmth, immobilization, and loss of range of motion, fatigue and inadequate blood flow. Two of the main types of arthritis are Osteoarthritis (OA) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). With Osteoarthritis, wear and tear damages the cartilage in the joints and causes friction between the bones rubbing together. Injury or infection usually causes Rheumatoid Arthritis. RA is an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack its own lining of the joints and membranes; this results in painful swelling and inflammation.

When arthritis affects the neck, back, hands, feet or hips, difficulties arise when trying to get through even the most menial daily tasks. The surrounding muscles begin to tighten as they try to overcompensate for the pain and protect the injured area. These tight muscles can create tension headaches, stiff joints, and impinged range of motion. Although exercising can be extremely beneficial for arthritis, the thought of movement is too much for many individuals. The good news is—there is a way!

In recent studies, water therapy has proven to be an excellent source in helping individuals to gain their balance back by retraining the body to walk stronger with more stability. In addition, warm water aquatic therapy stimulates balance and body awareness, as it also helps to build muscle definition without any force on the joints.

What is Aquatic Therapy?
On land, walking is a very beneficial way to workout with low impact, but in saying that, three times your body weight is the amount of pressure put on your knee joints while walking. For example, if you weigh 180 pounds, then 540 pounds of pressure are on your knee joints with every step.

When the body is submerged in water, it has buoyancy, which reduces stress on joints and muscles because the water opposes the weight of the immersed limbs. If an individual that weighs 180 pounds is under water, that person will only weigh about 10 pounds in the water. Since our bodies are approximately 15-18% fat, the fat weighs virtually nothing in the water, which helps with agility and promotes a feeling of lightness. This is extremely beneficial for protecting our joints.

A professional rehabilitation therapist can help increase your range of motion and flexibility within aquatic therapy treatment. From underwater treadmills to bikes, weights, belts and tubes, there are many different types of equipment that can assist you in water treatment, but it is sometimes just as beneficial to use no equipment in aquatic exercising. The specially trained therapists will decide which therapy is right for your specific needs. Underwater (usually waist high) you will build up the strength of your muscles, making them stronger through resistance training, utilizing your own body against the pressure of the water.

The Recognized Results of Aquatic Therapy
If you are immersed to your waist, your body will weigh only 50% of its actual weight, and if you are immersed to your chest, it’s approximately 25% of your weight. This weight reduction is helpful to relieve pain and to protect weak bones, muscle tears or joint friction. Water exercise can help you lose weight, as you will burn calories, and it also promotes relaxation throughout the entire body, which is beneficial for healing and overall health and wellness.

Individuals that have undergone aquatic therapy have shown great results in improving their balance. Many people no longer require canes or walkers after their sessions have concluded. Each session is approximately 30 minutes long, and your therapist will decide exactly what’s best for you.

To find out more, please call Freedom Rehab Aquatic Therapy, LLC, at (941) 400-1505 to schedule an appointment today.

3545 Massini Ave., North Port

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