Hydrotherapy and Water Exercises for Joint Pain

Hydrotherapy and water exercises are a great option for joint pain and arthritis sufferers. It is well documented that exercise and activity will significantly help pain management for osteoarthritis. It will increase your joints range of motion, and strengthen the joint. Both of these lead to a healthier, more stable joint that will ultimately function better and most likely more pain free. Basically exercises in the water is a gentle way to keep painful joints active and mobile.

What is it?

People often confuse hydrotherapy with swimming. Hydrotherapy is the use of water in the treatment of a range of conditions. Many swimming pools reserve times for people with joint problems to complete hydrotherapy classes or groups. It involves special exercise, and the water temperature is normally 33-37 Degrees Celsius, which is a little warmer than normal swimming pools.

What are the benefits?

The buoyancy of the water supports and lessens the stress on the joints considerably. This encourages a greater range of motion. The water can also act as a resistance to help build strength. Here are some more reasons why Hydrotherapy is so good for joint pain sufferers.

  • Heat and buoyancy of warm water makes it a great place for relieving arthritis pain and stiffness.
  • When you get into warm water, your body temperature raises, causing your blood vessels to dilate, increasing circulation.
  • Water offers joint support, encourages free movement, relaxes your muscles which helps to increase your range of motion and helps build much needed muscle.
  • Water exercise offers all the benefits of regular exercise in a safe environment.Increase fitness, encouraging lower body fat, and an increased sense of wellbeing.

Some helpful hints for home based programmes

  • Warm up by swimming gently or go for a walk through the water.
  • Build up your fitness slowly, progress and start easily.
  • If you are exercising in a hot spa, get out after seven minutes or so.
  • Get out of the water if you feel sick or light headed or dizzy.
  • Take care when moving in wet areas around the pool to avoid slipping and falls.
  • Perform each movement as gracefully and smoothly as you can.
  • Keep the body part you are exercising under the water.
  • Stop if a movement causes pain or discomfort.
  • Drink plenty of fluids during and after exercising.
  • Rest for a while once you get home.
  • If you have painful joints for more than a few hours after your class, go a bit easier next time, and remember to progress slowly.

When shouldn’t I do Hydrotherapy?

There are no side effects from Hydrotherapy, it is gentle and safe and the only problem you may have is feeling tired after exercising in the warm water!

If you have the following problems consult your doctor before commencing Hydrotherapy

  • wound or skin infections
  • upset stomach
  • a raised temperature
  • high or low blood pressure
  • breathing difficulties
  • renal dialysis
  • angina/heart problems
  • incontinence
  • chest infections