Why Performing Physical Therapy In Your Pool Can Help Reduce Pain From Osteoarthritis

For many people with arthritis, the usual recommendation to be more active and exercise regularly to improve arthritis symptoms can seem ridiculous. If you already have trouble performing daily tasks and experience extreme pain while walking, how are you able to exercise?

One way you can exercise with severe arthritis is pool therapy – the water in the pool bears some of the weight of your body, which can reduce the amount of pain you feel while exercising. You can improve your strength and your endurance while minimizing the amount of pain you experience. When you first start pool therapy, it's a good idea to work with a physical therapist. If you're interested in improving your strength and flexibility with gentle pool therapy, here's what you need to know.

What Are the Benefits of Exercising in a Pool?

Performing exercises in a pool provide two major benefits for people who suffer from osteoarthritis. The first benefit is related to buoyancy – when you're in the pool, your bones and joints bear much less weight than they would on dry land. This can significantly decrease the pain you feel while performing exercises in the pool, allowing you to go through a greater range of motion and exercise for a longer period of time than you would be able to outside of a pool.

The second benefit is that water provides more resistance than air. Think about how slowly you walk along the bottom of the pool compared to walking on land – it's much more difficult to walk quickly in a pool due to the added resistance against the movement of your legs. For people who are exercising in a pool, the added resistance is a major benefit that aids in developing stronger muscles.

Why Is Working With a Physical Therapist Important During Pool Therapy?

While exercising in a pool relieves much of the stress placed on your bones and joints due to buoyancy, it's still possible to injure yourself due to overexertion or poor form. You should work with a physical therapist when you are first starting pool therapy, especially if you suffer from severe osteoarthritis or have been sedentary for a long period of time. 

Your physical therapist will guide you on the proper form to use while exercising and ensure that you are not working too hard – you want to increase your range of motion, attain greater flexibility and improve your endurance, not injure yourself accidentally!

What Exercises Are Performed During Pool Therapy?

A wide variety of exercises can be performed in a pool. Your physical therapist will typically start with sitting exercises where you will sit in neck-deep water. These exercises are especially good for people who have spinal arthritis, as sitting in neck-deep water maximizes the effect of buoyancy on your body and reduces the weight placed on your spine. You'll be led through hand mobility exercises, arm raises, and leg raises in order to improve your flexibility and range of motion. Eventually, your physical therapist will have you walk around the pool and perform more intense exercises in waist-height water. You will be gently guided through performing every exercise without injuring yourself.

If you suffer from severe arthritis, have been inactive for a long time or have immense pain while performing daily tasks, consider pool therapy. Contact physical therapists in your area to find one who will gently guide you through the process of exercising in the pool – some physical therapy centers have pools in their offices, some perform pool therapy at a local community pool and others will come to your home to use your existing pool or spa. It's a great way to improve your endurance and your mobility in a safe environment.

Contact a company like Eagle Creek Therapy Services today to learn more. 

About Me

Preparing for a Stem Cell Transplant

About six months ago, my wonderful father discovered he had an aggressive form of lymphoma. At this time, his doctor informed him he would need to undergo six rounds of chemotherapy. My dad’s physician also told him he would need to have a stem cell transplant immediately after he completed the chemotherapy. To prepare for the stem cell transplant, my father was put on a special diet. His doctor recommended he eat a lot of protein. My dad was also told to drink plenty of water and exercise regularly. On this blog, I hope you will learn smart tips to help you or one of your loved ones prepare for a stem cell transplant. Enjoy!


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