What is Hydrotherapy?
Hydrotherapy refers to a series of exercise modalities performed in water. Exercise will normally be supervised by a physiotherapist or other exercise professional. Water depth, water temperature and exercise type and intensity may vary depending on the aims and outcomes expected from the session.
Hydrotherapy aims to use water as a form of pain relief and treatment. Hydrotherapy uses two essential physical properties of water to facilitate movement and exercise. Primarily, water buoyancy ensures support and offloading from joints. Secondly, temperature changes also effect treatment modalities.
Warmer water induces vasodilation: drawing blood into the target tissues. Increased blood flow delivers needed oxygen and nutrients, and removes cell wastes. The warmth decreases muscle spasm, relaxes tense muscles, relieves pain, and can increase range of motion.
Cold-water therapy produces vasoconstriction, which slows circulation, reducing inflammation, muscle spasm, and pain.
When to consider Hydrotherapy?
Hydrotherapy is indicated for a number of conditions treated at The Pain Clinic. Conditions and benefits of treating patients via this method include:
– Musculoskeletal Pain:
Hydrotherapy in the remit of both acute and persistent musculoskeletal pain allows the patient to return to activity and exercise earlier than via land-based modalities alone. The property of buoyancy will allow offloading of both central and peripheral joints and allow movement patterns which may be painful to perform outside of the water.
Water temperature can also be altered depending on what is deemed to be most beneficial to the patient. Acute conditions may be better treated in colder water, whilst less acute conditions may benefit from warmer conditions; both of which are catered for in our facility.
Current recommendations for fibromyalgia promote weight loss and a gradual increase in exercise as the best modalities for symptom management. Hydrotherapy is an excellent modality to introduce a sedentary individual to exercise gradually and comfortably. Furthermore, having sessions supervised by a physiotherapist ensures patient safety and improvement. Finally, cardiovascular exercise (perhaps coupled with nutritional advice from our nutritionist) will promote weight loss and a further feeling of achievement and well-being.
– Back and Neck Pain:
The general public is finally learning that stopping physical activity when experiencing a bout of back or neck pain is a bad idea! Moving whilst in pain can often be a challenging, daunting experience though. Hydrotherapy offers an alternative method to get moving as early as possible and effectively tackle the stiffness and spasm that cause the majority of your pain.
The pain management team will also make a decision regarding whether you would benefit from warm or cold water and advise you accordingly.
– Anxiety and Tension:
Anxiety and tension are frequently observed as secondary effects of persistent pain. One of the very best modalities to tackle anxiety and tension are exercise, in various forms! Supervised exercise in water will stimulate the body and the brain, resulting in a feeling of well-being and reduced anxiety levels. This could be one of the building blocks to a healthier, pain-free, life.
How to get started
If you are interested in trying hydrotherapy, please contact The Pain Clinic. One of our physiotherapists will carry out an assessment and screen you to ensure safety for commencing a course of hydrotherapy. This ensures patient safety and appropriate goal setting.
An appointment will then be set with our hydrotherapy physiotherapist to commence your programme. Exercise that can be carried out independently of our physiotherapist may also be prescribed, to ensure that you get the most out of your sessions.
Feel free to contact us for more information!