Aquatic-based physical therapy has become a very popular form of rehabilitation after joint replacement surgery. But what exactly does it entail? Is it safe or effective? What should you expect from aquatic therapy?
Joint replacement surgery is a common procedure performed to treat arthritis and other conditions that cause joint pain and disability. The goal of aquatic therapy programs is to reduce swelling and improve range of motion.
Aquatic rehab has proved to be effective in promoting fast recoveries from joint replacements. Low-impact aquatics (such as hydrotherapy) are safer and involve less perceived pain and effort than land-based therapies. Aquatic rehab with a therapy pool encourages a progressive return to activity. Because there is no risk of falling in an aquatic setting, patients’ confidence and recovery times improve.
How does it compare to traditional physical therapy?
A pool provides an environment that allows patients to achieve movements that may be unattainable on dry land because of factors like pain, weakness, or inability to bear the weight. The water also helps to minimize the pressure on your joints, reduce swelling, and assist your movement.
If you participate in aquatic therapy, you will have a physical therapist to oversee your treatment and help you through the process – just as you would with traditional physical therapy.
Patients undergoing joint replacement surgery can see many benefits from aquatic therapy, like improving balance and flexibility. Exercise in water also improves the blood flow around the joint, decreasing the chance of inflammation. The resistance of the water also helps increase muscle strength and range of motion. Patients can have a shorter recovery time and experience fewer complications.
Aquatic therapy exercises can also be used before your surgery to help build up your strength and make your post-operation recovery easier. This is known as pre-rehabilitation or prehab.
What is Prehab?
Exercises targeting the muscles around your surgical hip and knee are an integral part of any prehab program that reduces surgery risk. Doing them in the water provides a great opportunity for patients who have too much pain when they’re on land. Water therapy benefits come from the water principles themselves. Water-based exercises provide patients with a comfortable environment to work out in. Patients are able to burn more calories while exercising. People feel happier when doing water-based exercises.
Who should use prehab aquatic therapy?
Those who have been medically cleared, are comfortable in the water, and are scheduled for joint replacement surgery should begin aquatic physical therapy. Starting aquatic therapy 6 or more weeks in advance of your surgery is optimal.
How do I get started?
If you’re interested in learning more about aquatic therapy in the Evansville area, please contact us. We’re here to help you every step of the way!