Hydrotherapy, also called aquatherapy or water therapy, utilizes the healing powers of water to treat back pain. Water therapies have been used for thousands of years to treat a variety of diseases and pain syndromes. Water therapy is commonly used by physical therapists as part of a complete rehabilitation routine for victims of acute injury, as well as for postoperative patients.
Patients typically enjoy various water treatments, since most are relaxing and quite effective. Best of all, once you are familiar with the types of treatment which may work best for your painful complaint, you can usually go about providing these modalities for yourself. This is a huge financial blessing for those without insurance and patients on very limited budgets.
Water therapy works for 2 main reasons:
First, by submerging yourself in water, you are eliminating the strong pull of gravity on your body. This can reduce pressure on the back and therefore relieve sensitivity from compressed nerves and some other structural issues.
Second, the temperature of water, hot or cold, can cause either increased circulation or reduced circulation, depending which is better indicated for your particular pain problem.
To learn more about the positive effects of temperature treatments, please read my article discussing heat or ice for back pain.
Water Therapy Methods
The following are some of the most common methods of using the power of water to provide symptomatic relief for back ache:
Pools (submerging or swimming) are easily accessible and perfect for many water therapy activities.
Hot tubs and Jacuzzis can provide relaxing and stimulating water massage targeted to specific anatomical targets.
Wet towel baths are easy to use at home and are ideal for bed-ridden patients with terrible pain or disability conditions.
Saunas and steam rooms offer great penetrating heat that many patients find soothing and therapeutic.
All of these modalities can be combined for an all-over exercise and relaxation experience which is both effectual for pain management and super good for your general health and wellness!
Swimming for Back Pain
Swimming is an excellent exercise for back pain. It is a non-impact exercise, so it will not aggravate many painful back conditions. It is actually a very healthy activity for those with or without any type of chronic pain. Swimming will increase the circulation and can temporarily relieve pain caused by ischemia of the muscles or nerves.
Swimming is a great cardiovascular workout and one of my favorite exercises for back pain. If you want to get in great shape, or stay in great shape at any age, swimming is the ideal activity. I credit my time in the pool for maintaining my health and physical form long after my body stopped being able to do more strenuous activities on land.
Suggestions for Hydrotherapy
I am an outspoken supporter of water therapy. It is not guaranteed to help cure your back pain, but it will certainly make you a more relaxed and healthier person.
Swimming is an excellent form of non-impact exercise for everyone and can be especially valuable for dorsopathy sufferers. It will increase cardiovascular activity, which is beneficial for treating many types of symptoms from a wide range of diagnosed conditions.
Jacuzzis are very relaxing and can really change your mood for the better. If you feel better mentally, you will feel better physically. This is a perfect example of simplistic mind and body medicine in action.
Almost all patients might want to try this alternative therapy for back pain. You have nothing to lose, since access to these treatments is easy and inexpensive. You might just find a piece of the pain relief puzzle that works for your particular problem. Just be sure to talk to your doctor first to be sure that this is an appropriate treatment for your condition. You might even consider hiring a physical therapist or fitness trainer to get you started in the right direction.