Written by: Lola Rosenbaum, DPT | Posted by: Jen Zamora
Aquatic physical therapy is an important part of rehabilitation for patients who have limited tolerance to land-based exercise programs. The buoyancy of the water coupled with the therapeutic effect of the heated pool, allows for a decrease of joint forces and an increase in muscle relaxation resulting in less pain and more mobility.
Water is denser than air and exerts more pressure on you as you move in it. This is because the water constantly adjusts its shape to accommodate your movements. The hydrostatic pressure of the water compresses your skin, muscles, and joints acting like a compression bandage for the entire body. This compression makes your heart and lungs work harder, improves your circulation, and relieves swelling and muscle aches.
Water resists your movements and causes you to exert more energy when performing exercises and activities in the pool. This resistance helps tone weak muscles faster by using more muscle fibers. The buoyancy of the water helps reduce pain by decreasing weight bearing and joint compression forces. Buoyancy also helps to keep you standing which minimizes your fear of falling, making balance exercises easier and less worrisome to perform.
Your pool therapy program begins after you have been examined by a physical therapist. Your physical therapist will incorporate comprehensive interventions to reduce pain while improving your range of motion, flexibility, strength, mobility, balance, endurance, and function. A physical therapy program that makes use of aquatic therapy may also be used in conjunction with land-based interventions to maximize your rehabilitative potential.
After completing your aquatic physical therapy treatment, you will have the opportunity to join our supervised aquatic wellness program. This provides you with a long-term aquatic exercise option that ensures you can maintain the goals you reached in therapy and continue to exercise in the water.
About the Author
Lola Rosenbaum, DPT, has been with the Cantrell Center since July of 2003. With her extensive physical therapy experience and a husband formerly in the US Navy, she has worked in many different therapy settings from California to Georgia. This includes 4 years at the National Institutes of Health where her interest in research began. She received two awards for physical therapy research on tumors and hip replacements and a distinguished service award from the American Physical Therapy Association for volunteer work on the national level. Regardless of the awards and recognition, she explains that the best moments in physical therapy come when she’s working with her patients. She goes on to say, “Every little bit of progress we make toward achieving your goals and your smile of satisfaction is my reward. With the excellent staff of the Cantrell Center behind us, we can’t go wrong.”