6 ways hydrotherapy can help you get back from injuryApril 28, 2017 | by Erin Bussin
Individuals suffering with muscle, bone and tendon injuries can often find the rehabilitation process difficult due to constant pain, decreases in strength and the fear of making the injury worse.
This article breaks down six ways hydrotherapy can get you back on your feet.
1. TAKE THE WEIGHT OFF
The buoyancy of the water supports your body weight. The adjustable floor of the Hydroworx™ 2000 Underwater Treadmill at Fortius can be set to take 50-80% of your weight off your lower body joints alone.
This makes performing movements easier and allows you to do things you may not be able to do on land. For example, the adjustable floor can enable a runner with a stress fracture, a soccer player with an ACL tear, or a hockey player with a torn quadriceps muscle to run sooner in their rehabilitation.
2. HELP STRENGTHEN AND MOBILIZE THE INJURED AREA
Water applies resistance in every direction.
The characteristics of water decrease the compressive weight-bearing stresses and pressures joints experience on land. This allows for functional exercise in the water, improving both range of movement and strength.
In an underwater treadmill, the resistance of the pool can be adjusted by changes in treadmill speed, the amount of body surface in contact with the water, or the power of the resistance jets. In addition, the specialized Kinesiologists at Fortius plan an individualized strength session for each client’s injury and personal goals. A combination of jumping, agility, balance, and dynamic movements are prescribed to further strengthen and mobilize the injured area.
3. MONITOR YOUR RUNNING GAIT
When people are out of activity due to a bone fracture, a torn Achilles tendon, or a muscle tear, the body may compensate to perform certain movements.
The brain will then make up new (possibly incorrect) movements to compensate for the injury. In hydrotherapy, we can use real time camera feedback to analyze your gait, jumps, run, or even squat mechanics from multiple views ensuring that you heal with proper mechanics.
4. BUILD NEW NERVOUS SYSTEM PATHWAYS
Muscles aren’t the only thing working hard during a hydrotherapy session. Your brain and central nervous system are hard at work building new connections and strengthening existing ones.
The Kinesiologist can use exercises and water jet streams to challenge the balancing mechanisms within the nervous system feedback loops to improve your proprioception.
Function of the premotor cortex of the brain will also improve from the corrective movement feedback. The more you perform a certain movement correctly, the easier it becomes. When you are ready to transition from water to land, your motor cortex will be ready to activate and guide you through a successful transition.
5. RELIEVE SYMPTOMS AND PAIN
Hydrotherapy has shown to relieve pain and symptoms in multiple disorders. A study written by Bressel et al. showed that patients with osteoarthritis had improved balance, function, mobility, and reduced joint pain after participating in a 6-week aquatic treadmill exercise program.1
Similar studies have shown symptom and pain improvements in patients with fibromyalgia2, post-op ACL tears3, and individuals who have suffered from a stroke 4, while rehabbing in a pool.
Hydrotherapy allows people pre/post-surgery, with chronic (old) or acute (new) injuries, and muscle imbalances the ability to perform activities with less pain and symptoms associated with weight-bearing.
6. ENHANCE YOUR STATE OF MIND
Hydrotherapy can help put you in a positive, motivated and happy state of mind.
For injuries that keep you house bound, hydrotherapy gets you out of the house. And, the visual feedback from our cameras lets you see yourself doing movements you haven’t performed since pre-injury.
As you become stronger, happier, and more mobile your self-confidence may also increase. In-turn, gaining a positive outlook on the recovery process can motivate you to get healthier quicker.
Hydrotherapy has large impacts on quality of life across many different individuals and injuries.
Our main goal is to get people back to performing the activities that define their lives.
Visit our website to learn more or call us today at 604.292.2501 to ask how our underwater treadmill can help you recover from an injury, surgery, chronic pain, work within your performance goals or aid in recovery*.
*Hydrotherapy requires a referral from your doctor, physiotherapist or health care provider.
- Bressel,E., Wing, J., Miller, A., Dolny, D. “High-Intensity Interval Training on an Aquatic Treadmill in Adults with Osteoarthritis: Effects on Pain, Balance, Function, and Mobility”. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. (2014) 28:2088-2096
- Lima, T., Dias, J.,Mazuquin, B., Da Silva, C., Nogueira, R. “The effectiveness of aquatic physical therapy in the treatment of fibromyalgia: a systematic review with meta-analysis”. Clinical Rehabilitation. (2013) 27:892-908
- McClintock, J., Kirkley, A., Fowler, P. “PROSPECTIVE RANDOMIZED CLINICAL TRAIL OF STANDARD PHYSIOTHERAPY VERSUS AQUATIC THERAPY FOR REHABILIATION OF THE ACL RECONSTRUCTED KNEE”. Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine. (1995) 5:272
- Noh, D., Lim, J., Shin, H., Paik, N. “The effect of aquatic therapy on postural balance and muscle strength in stroke survivors – a randomized controlled pilot trial”. Clinical Rehabilitation (2007) 22:966-976