Water exercise, or hydrotherapy, is being used more and more these days to help treat osteoarthritis and rehabilitaion following injury. As the names suggests, it involves exercising in water, usually in a heated pool. The buoyancy of the water helps to take the weight off painful joints. For example, if you stand in chest height water, your legs only have to support 1/3 of your body weight. This is why many people with arthritis, or painful conditions of the feet, knees, back and hips, find that they are more comfortable and can move more freely in water than they can on land.
Hydrotherapy may be great for you, if…
- You have arthritis of several joints, as all joints can be exercised at once.
- You have conditions affecting the feet, hips, knees and back.
- You are preparing for or recovering from joint replacement surgery.
- You find it difficult to exercise on land.
What are the benefits of water exercise?
- Water takes the pressure off your joints, allowing you to exercise without jarring them.
- Water properties mean that exercise can be easily adjusted to be more or less difficult.
- Many people find floating and gently moving in warm water to be a relaxing and pleasant experience. Relaxation can help with the alleviation of pain and stress.
- Warm water helps to loosen up your muscles and joints so that they move more easily.
You do not have to be able to swim to exercise in the water. Most pools are shallow so you can exercise well within your depth. You do not need to put your head under water, but it is a good idea of you are going on your own that you feel confident enough to let go of the pool edge and walk around in the pool on your own. If you are feeling nervous about this, it may be a good idea to have some one-one sessions with your physiotherapist until you gain more confidence in the water.
Are there any side effects?
Hydrotherapy is one of the safest treatments for arthritis and back pain. The warmth of the water and the exercise may make you feel tires after a session. This is normal. It is important that we all benefit from regular exercise. Water exercise may be a great way to get you moving without flaring up your pain/condition.
Before starting water exercise, make sure you consult with your Doctor or Physiotherapist to make sure it’s the right move for you!
We are currently running hydrotherapy classes at our Norwest clinic; prior to attending your pool sesssion we require you attending a comprehensive assessment and suitability assessment in the clinic . Call us today on 9659-6848 for more details.