Aquatic therapy, also known as aquatherapy, is a great combination of exercise and hydrotherapy. Many back pain patients seek to become more active as a means of both getting into shape, as well as helping to relieve certain symptomatic spinal conditions. Aquatherapy is a perfect answer to the problems often faced by these patients. It is a safe and enjoyable means of providing exercise to the entire body without risking damage to sensitive and painful structures in the back.
Exercising in the water reduces the effects of gravity and is a fully non-impact activity. The cushion provided by immersion in a pool can help even the most physicophobic patients find an environment in which to enjoy some much needed, and highly therapeutic, physical fitness time.
Aquatherapy is a systematic organized program of specific exercises performed in the water. The patient is instructed by a trainer or physical therapist on the proper technique for each exercise and then supervised in a pool that is specially heated to maximize healing and comfort.
Aquatherapy is zero impact, which gives the patient confidence to push themselves to perform more than during a comparable activity done on land. The patient is both cushioned and supported by the water and they quickly gain mobility they thought was lost.
The water acts as built-in resistance for all activities, so the workout is challenging for all fitness levels. It is also possible to use specialized apparatus to increase the resistance for patients with advanced cardio or resistance needs. Although the exercises seem quite basic, most patients are amazed at the efficiency of the workouts. The positive effects on the body include increased circulation, improved cardiovascular conditioning and even an enhancement in the aesthetics of the anatomical form.
Many physical therapists specialize in this exercise program and use it as a dedicated back pain treatment, as well as an effective system of rehabilitation for injuries and post-surgical patients.
Many people enjoy this program so much that they continue to participate individually, or at a health club, even after their pain condition has improved. There are many commercial aquatherapy classes available, since this is truly a great form of exercise which is very healthy for your body and mind. Make sure that your instructor or therapist is informed of any special needs you may have, before beginning a program of aquatherapy.
I love the idea and practice of this terrific therapy. I have witnessed the freedom experienced by many highly restricted or disabled patients in the comforting environment provided by the water. When combined with swimming, you have a well rounded and comprehensive plan for anyone who wants to get into great shape.
If you have a painful condition which responds well to exercise, this therapy might just be the perfect match for you. Consult with your doctor or physical therapist to learn more about the benefits of this program and how it might just be a valuable part of a combined care approach to back pain relief.
I can personally vouch for the efficacy of any form of exercise done in the water. Swimming has kept me in fantastic shape, despite an aging body full of injuries and degenerative conditions. I can not extol the virtues of time spent in the water enough. You have to check it out for yourself.