How can hydrotherapy classes assist your pre and post rehabilitation from surgery?
Hydrotherapy is a form of exercise rehabilitation that takes place in a warm pool, led by an experienced Physiotherapist.
The pool is shallower allowing you to stand in water either waist or chest height to perform your own tailored exercises.
It is fantastic if you have arthritis or considerable pain in your joints especially if this pain is worse whilst weight bearing.
Why do rehabilitation in water?
- The buoyancy helps to alleviate the strain on your joints including the cartilage and soft tissues structures. This effectively alleviates pain, permitting greater range in the water. It enables exercise of the muscles around the joint, relatively pain free.
- The warmth of the water additionally facilitates increased range of motion as the muscles relax and can lengthen easier.
- Rehabilitation prior to an operation has been shown to have significantly better outcomes functionally and pain responses post-op. This is why it is important to start rehabilitation 6 weeks or more before to strengthen the muscles around the joints. Through exercising it reinforces the strength and stability of the joint, prevents muscle wastage and also eases the transition post operation into rehabilitation.
- You may be wondering how water can provide strengthening benefits? Well have you ever thought how difficulty it is wadding through water at the beach? It is the resistance of the water providing this increased exertion. Additionally we utilise flotation devices or paddles to provide resistance or assist in further alleviating the load on a painful area.
Everyone in the pool is there to better themselves and everyone is at different stages of their rehabilitation at varying difficulties, but mainly it is about enjoying what you are doing. So there is no need to feel self-conscious about getting in the pool, otherwise you are more than welcome to wear a shirt or shorts or both!
A hydrotherapy success story!
If you are not convinced, Lucy’s story of her hydrotherapy rehabilitation pre and post her total knee replacement tells all.
Lucy started hydrotherapy 8 weeks prior to her total knee replacement. At that time walking more than 15 minutes was impossible without her walking stick due to poor balance, fatigue and pain.
The initial session Lucy was able to walk 4 laps of the pool without pain. This was great reassurance for Lucy as she was struggling to lose weight due to not being able to exercise.
Over the next 8 weeks, tasks such as getting out of the chair was easier, balance had improved and was less reliant on the walking stick. Lucy was able to walk 1 hour and navigating stairs was now achievable.
After surgery Lucy recommenced hydrotherapy. She reported the exercises post surgery were easier than she anticipated and similar to the ones in the pool.
During hydrotherapy Lucy found that the muscle spasms in her knee eased due to the warmth of the water. And after stretching her range was significantly better. It was also a lot easier to practice walking as the buoyancy eased the strain on her knee. It also gave her less fear of falling.
Consequently, strengthening can become easier with greater range permitted and less resistance of tightness from the muscles.
After 6 weeks of hydrotherapy Lucy had full range of motion through the knee and it wasn’t stopping her from doing anything!
What should you do now?
Make this your success story! Jump into the pool and achieve the goals you
didn’t think were possible on land. It isn’t only for joint replacements
but also excellent for any back pain or general conditioning.
So come see one of our physiotherapists who will assess your problem and tailor a hydrotherapy program just for you. Mount Barker or Payneham. Call us on 1300 189 289.
Written by Lauren Mutton, Physiotherapist in Adelaide.