“You need to exercise and lose 10lbs.” This is often the dreaded feedback from medical practitioners to people who have pain in their joints. Whether it is in the knees, hips, ankle, back or shoulder, none of us really want to exercise through pain. If you think about it, this makes perfect sense anyway.
Have you ever twisted your ankle really badly and had someone ask, “can you move it?” Well of course you couldn’t move it because it just hurt too bad to do it. Out bodies are meant to protect themselves so in the presence of pain, it is just much harder to move.
The Good News
I do have good news for you however. What if I told you that you could take up to 90% of the weight off of your joints and still move. You can instantly feel what it would be like to exercise with less weight on your joints. Well, if you haven’t guessed it yet, the secret is aquatic therapy and exercise.
There are several benefits to aquatic therapy and exercise. One benefit, of course is that once the water is up to your waist, you have already lost 50% of the weight through your lower joints. Once up to your neck, 90% of your weight is relieved from your joints. If you are in pain, that is great news!
So What is it?
Aquatic (Physical) Therapy (sometimes called water therapy or hydrotherapy) is the skilled practice of physical therapy by a physical therapist or a physical therapist assistant under their supervision. It has been found to help improve overall mobility, endurance, balance, walking and running ability, relaxation (especially in heated pools), and of course to decrease pain.
Did you know that in a 2008 study of people with chronic pain, aquatic therapy was found to have long term effects on pain relief. Of course everyone does not need aquatic physical therapy and would just benefit from a general or group exercise program in the water.
Whatever your reason for pain, if you remember anything, keep in mind that you do not have to exercise through pain. There are options and there is hope for you. To learn more about aquatic therapy watch this video or read more at The American Physical Therapy Association Aquatic Therapy Section.