Arthritis, sports injuries, inflammatory disorders, joint diseases, back pain. These are examples of chronic medical conditions that can limit you and bring about an intense pain level you just can’t ignore.
Pain affects almost everything you do and brings down your overall quality of life. Studies show that people with chronic pain are more susceptible to mental health problems like depression and anxiety.
Aqua therapy is a highly recommended rehabilitative treatment for various disabilities and musculoskeletal disorders. It’s a type of physical therapy that uses evidence-based water exercises to strengthen your muscles, restore their function, and speed up your recovery process.
Dr. Henry Sardar is one of the top physical medicine and rehabilitation practitioners in Brooklyn, New York. He offers aqua therapy as an independent treatment or part of a treatment plan with other procedures for optimal healing and pain relief.
Keep reading to learn more about how aquatic therapy works, its benefits, and how you can access it right here in Brooklyn, New York.
What Is Aqua Therapy?
Aqua therapy is a special type of physical therapy that uses the soothing properties of water to promote healing. It’s one of the most advanced and well-studied rehabilitation techniques in physical medicine.
Performing therapeutic exercises in water allows you to move more freely and perform more exercises without the limitation of pain. The water lifts you up and excludes the effects of gravity. This takes the pressure off your joints and bones, reducing pain, and allowing you to freely move without any hindrance. It is an essential part when recovering from debilitating musculoskeletal injuries. It allows you to gradually work your muscles back to their full capacity.
Physical therapy with water can gradually strengthen your muscles, promote healing and repair, and reduce your pain through a series of well-established treatments and exercises performed in the pool.
Aqua therapy became famous first in the 1900s when Franklin D. Roosevelt resorted to water therapy to treat his polio condition. However, water therapy didn’t get its official recognition until 1967, when the Social Security Act was amended to accommodate it.
Three different types of water therapy can be done individually or combined to achieve the best results.
Aquatic Exercise Program
Water exercises take the pressure off your bones and strengthen your muscles by providing natural resistance. When submerged in water, your body’s weight is reduced by 80%. This gives you more freedom to move your injured muscles and joints. The water helps by lifting you up and excluding the force of gravity, allowing you to move better and gradually back into full power. The CDC stipulates that aqua exercise programs also improve chronic pain from heart conditions, arthritis, and diabetes. Water exercises can also positively impact mental health, lessen muscle tightness, increase the flexibility of your tendons and ligaments, and reduce swelling.
Water Circuit Therapy
Also known as Contrast Water Therapy, it combines hot and cold water treatments to gain more benefits. Different water temperatures regulate the blood blow into the injured regions and stimulate the release of different growth factors into the tissue. Among some benefits are reduced inflammation, relief from soreness, and increased muscle health.
An aquatic massage takes place in a warmed therapy pool and incorporates a water-based therapeutic massage to relax your soft tissues and relieve chronic pain. Aquatic massages can decrease your recovery time, boost your immune system, improve circulation, lower your blood pressure, and loosen stiff joints.
How Does Aqua Therapy Work?
Aqua pool therapy is a form of physical therapy that uses hydrostatic pressure to improve a range of painful chronic conditions. Hydrotherapy is largely based on the anti-gravity property of water, which boosts your exercise ability regardless of your injury.
Moreover, when you perform the exercise activities in the therapy pool, the hot or cold water brings about physiological effects to boost healing and increase performance:
- Muscle Strengthening and Relaxation: The water supports your body during exercise, reducing the stress gravity has on your bones and muscles. This releases tense muscles and allows you to easily move them in a wider range of motion not possible on the ground – and with less pain. Aqua exercises increase muscle strength by excluding the burden of the weight on your joints and bones. Excluding gravity also means allowing blood to flow more freely, bringing in various growth factors, oxygen, and nutrients to stimulate healing.
- Improved proprioception: Proprioception is your body’s sense of self-movement and position. The hydrostatic pressure of water produces forces that improve the body’s sensory input into your brain. This means that you will be more aware of how your body’s moving. Heightened proprioception reinforces the neurological pathways that coordinate your body movements, allowing you to effectively restore your full range of motion after a debilitating musculoskeletal or neurological injury.
- Vasodilation: Hot water can trigger the blood vessels to expand, making room for an increased blood supply with essential nutrients and oxygen needed to speed up the healing process.
- Vasoconstriction: Coldwater therapy constricts or tightens arteries and blood vessels. It slows down the blood flow to the affected tissues to reduce inflammation.
Exercising in water produces the same physiological effects as when you are exercising on dry land. Yet aquatic therapy supports your weight and lessens the forces acting on your joints; Without this impact, your muscles can train smoothly and heal faster. You’ll have a wider range of motion and will be able to gradually work your way back into full-range exercises.
What Conditions Does Aqua Therapy Treat?
At PainTherapy Medical Care, Dr. Sardar uses aquatic exercise programs to treat conditions that range from sports injuries to orthopedic injuries and even neurological disorders. Aqua therapy is an essential part of physical rehabilitation after injuries that limit your body movement and cause pain. Some conditions that are treated with aqua therapy include:
- Low-back pain
- Joint pain
- Knee pain
- Neck pain
- Sore muscles
- Back pain
- Ankle sprains, strains, and fractures
- Rotator cuff tendinitis
- Rotator cuff tears
- Frozen shoulder
- Cerebral palsy
- Spinal cord injuries
- Multiple sclerosis
- Traumatic brain injuries
Neurological disorders can often lead to loss of muscle function. After a stroke, for example, you might lose the ability to move an arm or a leg in a normal full range. Physical and aqua therapy are essential to restore motor abilities after neurological injuries and can often lead to outstanding results.
If you are considering aqua therapy, contact or visit us at our pain clinic. We are happy to answer all your questions. Dr. Sardar is currently offering all his patients the chance to try aqua therapy themselves and see how it can boost their recovery and speed up manifolds.
Am I A Candidate For Aquatic Therapy?
If you’re recovering from an injury, surgery, or a stroke, or are struggling with chronic debilitating pain, then you can benefit from aqua therapy. There is no specific age that dictates if you need it.
Aqua therapy has restorative and detoxifying properties that can treat anyone caught in a cycle of physical pain, anxiety, and stress. You are a great candidate for aquatic therapy if:
- You are recovering from a stroke
- You’ve recently sustained a musculoskeletal injury
- You’re undergoing post-surgery rehabilitation
- You want to speed up your physical therapy recovery plan
- You want to regain your muscular strength quickly
- You want a natural pain-relief method
- You want to avoid surgery to treat your pain
Dr. Sardar regularly treats athletes using aqua therapy. It allows them to recover from injury or surgery faster, and back to the top of their game.
He also encourages water therapy to restore muscle function in children and the elderly experiencing musculoskeletal conditions. We prescribe personalized therapy plans using floatation devices, underwater treadmills, and other aquatic therapy exercises for a long-lasting decrease in pain.
What Are The Benefits Of Aqua Therapy?
Aqua therapy incorporates the physical properties of water with exercise to increase the strength and function of your musculoskeletal system. It treats various musculoskeletal disorders, stiff joints, sports, and work injuries, and other chronic pain conditions.
As such, it has a growing reputation among Dr. Sardar’s patients in New York. These are some reasons that make water therapy ideal for pain management:
- Faster healing – The water assists your weight and movement while you’re doing therapy. It allows you to overcome the pain — less force on your body, less force exerted by your muscles. Even the more intensive workouts seem more manageable. This allows you to gradually work your muscles back into their full capabilities.
- Pain relief – The warm water and hydrostatic pressure act on your pain receptors and dulls the pain signals. You can carry out your exercises without thinking about your pain, unlike when performing land-based exercises.
- Natural healing method – Water-based physical therapy is a natural way to encourage the body’s natural healing response. It’s excellent for those wanting to avoid medications, surgery, and steroid injections with all the risks and side effects that come with them.
- Speedy recovery – Aqua therapy is an excellent addition to traditional therapy when recovering from injury or surgery. It can exponentially speed up your recovery timeframe and help you quickly regain your motor abilities and skills.
- Relaxing effect – The water flowing around you is a natural massage. It increases your blood flow and soothes your muscles, resulting in a relaxing effect. Almost as if you were in a spa. This adds an excellent mental benefit to the many physical benefits water therapy provides.
- No downtime – There is no recovery period after hydrotherapy.
So, if you want to tap into the full effect of water therapy fully, book an appointment at our pain clinic in Brooklyn, New York.
How Is Aqua Therapy Performed?
During your consultation, Dr. Sardar will examine your medical history and discuss your treatment goals. He will prescribe a treatment plan that specifically caters to your medical condition and your needs. If aqua therapy is deemed beneficial for your condition, you’ll be given an appointment.
Your sessions will take place in one of our therapy pools, where you will begin your water therapy exercises. You’ll feel the relief almost immediately as you’re submerged in the pool. Your pain gradually dampens, and you may even feel weightless in the water.
Our center has state-of-the-art aqua therapy equipment, including weights, dumbbells, bands, and belts. These will be used to perform different therapeutic exercises in the pool.
Your therapist will guide you through different muscle- and strength-building and aerobic exercises. You don’t need to know how to swim before you can benefit from aqua therapy. The activities can be done in pools as shallow as 3 feet and always under the watchful eye of our team.
Each aquatic therapy session is about thirty to forty-five minutes. Depending on your condition, Dr. Sardar may suggest you combine hot and cold hydrotherapies with your exercises. He might recommend water massages or even other forms of rehabilitative therapies, like TECAR or shockwave therapy.
Is Aqua Therapy Safe?
Aquatic therapy is a safe therapy that involves no major risks. You will be guided through your exercises by expert therapists trained to keep you safe. You can get aqua therapy even if you can’t swim. You will be accompanied by a team member at all times, and you can perform your exercises in shallow waters.
At PainTherapy Medical Care, we provide a safe environment for all clients. Our team is highly trained in advanced medical aid procedures and risk awareness.
Additionally, we disinfect and treat our pools and equipment frequently to prevent contamination and the risk of infection.
Long-Term Effects Of Aqua Therapy
The long-term effects of aquatic therapy are elicited by the properties of water, such as buoyancy, hydrostatic pressure, and thermal stability. These properties help your body during water exercise and stimulate your body’s healing mechanism.
With that being said, staying faithful to your sessions can help you achieve your treatment goals and prolong the effects of aquatic therapy. Aquatic therapy will eventually lead to a significant decrease in pain and an increase in healing.
Water therapy eliminates the soreness and builds your muscle strength. With every session, your range of motion increases, and your muscle pain or spasms go away.
Remember, the effects of aquatic therapy are long-lasting as long as you let the healing process continue undisturbed. That includes avoiding vigorous activities that can strain the injured area.
Can Aqua Therapy Be Combined With Other Procedures?
Yes! We recommend you combine aqua therapy with other pain management and rehabilitative treatments for maximum results. Typically, water therapy is a part of a broader physical therapy program. Dr. Sardar may suggest accompanying procedures for devising your plan of care or after assessing your progress in aqua therapy.
Dr. Sardar often performs hydrotherapy as an add-on to other therapies available at our pain management clinic in Brooklyn, New York.
- Cold laser therapy
- Shock-wave therapy
- Electromagnetic Transduction therapy (EMTT)
- TECAR Therapy
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy
- Perineural Injection Therapy (PIT)
- Acupuncture Therapy
- Ultrasound-Guided Injections
- Fluoroscopically Guided Epidural Steroid Injection and Facet Injection
- Physical and Occupational Therapy
How Much Does Aquatic Therapy Cost?
The number of sessions you need, the speed of your progress, and other treatment options are factors you may need to consider when estimating the cost of aquatic therapy.
No two persons with the same condition require the same number of aqua therapy sessions. Although you may feel a significant decrease in pain, your body is still healing at its own pace, and you may progress differently than others.
Aqua therapy may not be covered by insurance. However, Dr. Sardar is giving you the chance to try it out no matter what your insurance covers. Water therapy has garnered popularity among his patients, all of which can attest to the therapeutic effects the treatment brings. He wants you to join them and see the benefits yourself.
At PainTherapy Medical Care, Brooklyn, New York, the following insurance providers are accepted: New York State Medicaid, HealthFirst, Fidelis Care, Affinity Group, Metro Plus, Amerigroup, BlueCross / BlueShield Medicaid Plan, and United Health Care Community Plan.
Reach out to us today for more information about our physical rehabilitation and pain management services.
- How many aqua therapy sessions do I need? The number of water therapy sessions you need depends on your treatment plan and goal. It also depends on how fast you respond to the exercises and water circuit options.
- Can I do aqua therapy on my own? Although doable, aqua therapy without professional guidance is rarely effective. Certified therapists are specifically trained in providing evidence-based exercise techniques to treat very specific conditions.
- What do I need for my aqua therapy sessions? We recommend you bring a swimsuit, towel or robe, water-proof shoes, and a bottle of water. We’ll provide you with a secure locker for your belongings.
- What are the major types of aqua therapy? Water therapy comprises water circuit therapy, aquatic exercises, and water massage therapy.
- Is aquatic therapy the same as physical therapy? Aquatic therapy is a physical therapy that’s water-based. It uses the natural characteristics of water to aid healing, pain alleviation, and rehabilitation.
Aqua Therapy For Pain – Further Readings
NIMH » Chronic Illness and Mental Health: Recognizing and Treating Depression
The effectiveness of aquatic physical therapy in the treatment of fibromyalgia: a systematic review with meta-analysis
Aquatic therapy in the rehabilitation of athletic injuries
Marker Monday: Warm Springs Treatment Pools – Georgia Historical Society
Health Benefits of Water-based Exercise | Healthy Swimming | Healthy Water
Changes in lower-leg blood flow during warm-, cold-, and contrast-water therapy
Aquatic Therapy – an overview
Comparison of Effects of a Proprioceptive Exercise Program in Water and on Land the Balance of Chronic Stroke Patients
Efficacy of aquatic exercises for patients with low-back pain
Impact of water therapy on pain management in patients with fibromyalgia: current perspectives
Early Incorporation of an Evidence-Based Aquatic-Assisted Approach to Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair Rehabilitation: Prospective Case Study
Aquatic therapy in stroke rehabilitation: systematic review and meta-analysis