If you are someone who lives with chronic pain and has a pain doctor or are seeking a pain doctor, you will likely be asked to utilize aqua therapy. Aqua therapy is a form of physical therapy that involves water. Individuals will generally go to their local gym or pool located at their physical therapists office to access aquatic therapy. They are taught appropriate movements by their local pain doctor or therapist to implement to begin to decrease chronic pain and find a better quality of life with higher functional abilities.
What is the science behind aqua therapy?
Aqua therapy is actually quite interesting. Our bodies are heavy. We hold a lot of muscle, fat, and water and therefore when we walk on land, we are putting high impact onto our joints. This is difficult for joints that are having pain. Common examples include knee pain, hip pain, and back pain. For patients with acute or severe pain, it is often easier to move their body in water. This is because when our bodies are submerged to the chest in water, 80% of our body weight is reduced. We no longer have such a great impact on our joints as we would on land.
Without the high impact, our muscles are more comfortable and therefore can heal faster and exercise easier. Often with chronic pain, we need to strengthen the muscles around the joint to return to the highest functional ability. To do this, we have to exercise and strength train. If we are in pain, water is the best option.
The water that is utilized in aqua therapy is always going to be warm. This will naturally soothe the body. The pressure of the water will offer resistance against the muscles and therefore causes the muscles to contract and strengthen. This will, in the long run, reduce the impact to the joints and reduce chronic and severe pain.
Because aqua therapy is so good for the body and involves low impact, it is often the exercise of choice for aging individuals who might find it harder to exercise on firm ground.
Aqua therapy for chronic back pain and chronic spine pain
Back pack and spine pain can most certainly destroy many parts of a person’s life. Patients who live with chronic back pain struggle in most areas of their life and often their pain goes untreated because the perfect intervention has not been identified.
Aqua therapy is a necessary intervention for individuals with chronic back pain. The vertebrae, when stressed, will cause pain in the muscles, nerves, and bones in the back. This kind of pain is difficult to treat. Because water will take the impact off of the back, aqua therapy is helpful for reducing and treating strains and issues in discs that might be causing back pain.
Water therapy for chronic joint pain
Pain doctors treat individuals with joint pain at an alarmingly high rate. Unfortunately our joints struggle to keep up with all the expectations we place on them. This is especially true for athletes. Aqua therapy is a go-to treatment for athletic pain doctors because the water allows for less painful and easier movements. This prompts the necessary retraining of affected joints and muscle tissue that surround the joints causing chronic pain. Consistent treatment should lead to healing with proper oversight from a pain doctor.
While there are many other conditions that aqua therapy can help treat, back pain and joint pain are common examples that pain doctors address.
What are the benefits of aqua therapy?
As we have discussed, there are many benefits of aqua therapy that have led to it becoming a common intervention for chronic pain. These benefits include the following:
- Improved flexibility through water training and therapy
- Patients who struggle with coordination or mobility are able to exercise without the fear of falling or injury
- Strengthening muscles and joints that are affected by pain
- Low-impact that is not likely to cause any additional pain
- Return to baseline functional abilities and reduce the experience of chronic pain
If you are interested in accessing aqua therapy for chronic pain, reach out to your local pain doctor today and ask for a referral!