As humans we are designed to move continuously. We naturally climb trees, run and play, go up…

As humans we are designed to move continuously. We naturally climb trees, run and play, go up mountains, swim, and perform numerous other movements. With all of this movement we have become experts on injuring ourselves as well. During a lifetime of movement serious injuries requiring physical therapy can be expected. There are many different types of therapy and recovery programs for many of these injuries. Physical therapy can be divided into 2 groups; aquatic and traditional “in office” or “land” therapy. Aquatic therapy is an effective and popular type of therapy that is often prescribed for ligament sprains, muscle strains, arthritis and cerebral palsy. In this paper I will explain each of these 3 injuries and why it is often more effective and beneficial to use aquatic therapy in place of “in office” or “land” physical therapy.
Aquatic physical therapy is a form of rehabilitative health care for musculo-skeletal pain and/or disorders. Musculo-skeletal disorders affect the body’s muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments and nerves, and can be as simple as tennis elbow or as painful as fibromyalgia. Injuries or other physical ailments requiring physical therapy are first given an initial examination and diagnosis. A physical therapy regiment is prescribed to treat and restore of muscle and joint function and fitness levels. The length and extent of treatment depends on the severity of the injury or disorder. Water treatments were first used for medical purposes in the early 19th century in Austria by Vincent Priessnitz. Priessnitz discovered water treatments from observing how wounded deer would bathe a damaged limb in running stream water quite often and it seemed to help the pain go away and the injury to slowly heal.
After doing some research and experiments copying how the deer had bathed its wound Priessnitz decided to open a spa. This spa used his therapy which was not only cold water but also hard work and barefoot walks on grass. The diet and sleep regime were quite strict. His “sponge washing” was not accepted by local doctors of medicine, and so they complained and called him an impostor with no medical background. Soon after, Bavarian monk Father Sebastian Kniepp claimed that water could cure disease by improving the elimination of toxic waste from the body. Father Sebastian Kniepp was a believer in water therapy when he cured himself of a fatal lung condition by plunging into ice cold water every day for many months.
He got the idea from Priessnitz who believed that bacteria disliked cold more than heat. The United States caught on to the idea of spa therapy shortly afterwards with the prevailing idea that it worked wonders on defects of the mind and body. Aquatic therapy transitioned from a preventative role to a rehabilitative role during the polio epidemic of the 1940s and 1950s with the influence of Sister Kenny, who included water activity in the treatment of her polio patients. Sister Kenny was not a nun, but rather a largely self-taught nurse who earned the title of “Sister,” based on the British title for a chief nurse. Sister Kenny’s method of treating polio was called ‘the Kenny Treatment’. This treatment involved using moist, hot compresses to ease muscle spasm pain, eliminating immobilization during the acute phase of the disease, and gently exercising the paralyzed muscles.
According to a 1943 article in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, “The Kenny Treatment for Infantile Paralysis: A Comparison of Results with Those of Older Methods of Treatment,” by Robert Bingham, MD, “Patients receiving the Kenny treatment are more comfortable, have better general health and nutrition, are more receptive to muscle training, have a superior morale, require a shorter period of bed rest and hospital care, and seem to have less residual paralysis and deformity than patients treated by older conventional methods. The Kenny treatment is the method of choice for the acute stage of infantile paralysis.”
Over the years technology in many of the health professions has grown and improved. Physical therapy is also one of the millions of professions that have changed thanks to technology. Research and technology has resulted in a better understanding of aquatic therapy and how it works in healing the body. There have been many studies done in the past to determine what kind of exercise and programs best treat what types of injuries using aquatic therapy. This then makes it more available to patients and gives a more broad understanding of the ways to use it that will affect the patients and their injuries the best. Some of this technology that has been gained is things like heated pools. Being able to work in a heated pool leads to the muscles being warmed up and less likely to be injured while working out as well as keeping the muscles relaxed.
A lot of changes have been made to the pools using new technology to make the pool more effective in the treatments. Some of the new pool’s advanced technology feature underwater treadmills, resistance therapy jets, hydro massage, variable water temperature, resistance/therapy jets, underwater video monitoring, adjustable floor and depth and removable stainless steel support bars. Recent research shows that the main benefits of doing aquatic therapy versus regular in office physical therapy are improved muscle strength, increase of balance and coordination, and increased range of motion ( Kiss 45). This is why aquatic therapy can yield faster results for many chronic problems.
After an illness, injury, or surgery, a patient’s sensitivity to pain may be increased or the ability to bear weight on the injured area can become limited. When moving in water, the water supports the body. This partial support reduces joint stress, offers a type of resistance and provides assistance to movement. This increases the patient’s mobility, strength and function much more rapidly than using traditional “land” therapy. Other benefits associated with aquatic therapy are improved muscle strength and tone, increased cardiovascular function, reduced stress, decreased swelling, increased circulation, increased strength and endurance, increased range of motion and flexibility, and improved balance and coordination. Aquatics therapy is beneficial because of the decreased gravity offering support and resistance to your body’s muscles and joints, the ability to target and utilize different muscle groups and improve your strength and balance in the water.
Therapy performed in the water is challenging as well as relaxing as it eases joint pain and swelling and increases circulation. More than 50 percent of our body weight is made up of water. Gravity on the body’s weight impacts the way our bodies move, and results in stress on our muscles, tendons, and ligaments. . Water reduces a human’s body weight by 90 percent, allowing people to move freely in a way that doesn’t place extra stress on the musculoskeletal system.. Generally even if you are unable to stand on land, you are able to stand in the water. This is a huge advantage when working on strengthening the muscles.
The water also supports the body, which can lessen the chance of falling. Working in the water allows your heart to work more efficiently without working as hard. Each movement a patient makes requires them to push water, so they work harder to move their limbs. This is because it is concentric and eccentric movements. This means in the absence of gravity the results lead to the patient working on both an “up” motion while pushing water, and a “down” motion while pushing water. The patient is working their muscles in two ways, the upward movement and the downward movement of their arms thanks to the force of the water. When using ‘land’ therapy the exact opposite seems to occur. With land exercises, you move quickly and sometimes jerkily through the air. If someone isn’t able to stand on their own very well they will have to use a chair or a walker providing a support for the body’s frame.
This takes away the ability to fully strengthen the injured muscle tissue. . If a patient falls during treatment because of this, there is the potential for injury resulting from the fall causing more damage. Doing ‘land’ therapy also requires the heart to work overtime in order to keep up with the amount of work the body may be doing. Unlike with aquatic therapy, ‘land’ therapy movements are concentric; gravity lowers the limb down resulting in the muscles only working in one direction. Air provides no support whereas water does. This lack of support causes people to have balance challenges and spend more time worrying about balancing than exercising.
“Four components of aquatic therapy that ‘land based’ therapies may not offer are: buoyance, heat, hydrostatic pressure and resistance (Kiss 86). Buoyancy provides assistance and support and is used to decrease the gravitational forces that are placed on the weak limbs that are less able to bear the weight at the beginning of treatment. Heat comes into play because aquatic therapy almost always starts in a heated pool, where the warm water relaxes the muscles and allows for improved joint range of motion.
Next is hydrostatic pressure, which is attained in aquatic therapy because the water surrounding the body helps circulate blood from the legs to the heart, often, reducing any swelling around the ankles. Once swelling is reduced in the injury, joint tenderness may decrease and range of motion will then increase. The fourth component is resistance. Resistance promotes improvement in balance and strength in all muscle directions. When using “land” therapy resistance is felt in only one direction. This lack of equality can lead to over-development of some muscles and not enough growth in other muscles. When it comes to healing a ligament sprain it is proven that aquatic therapy helps heal the sprain much faster than ‘land’ therapy. Ligaments are fibrous tissues that connect two bones to enhance joint stability.
The severity of the sprain is be classified between grades one and three. A grade one sprain is a slight tear, while a grade three sprain is a complete rupture or tear of the ligament. Sprains can be caused by a fall, trauma or sudden twisting movement, and ankles and wrists are particularly susceptible. Total recovery time is between three to six weeks for mild sprains and up to 12 months for a complete tear of a ligament. When a ligament is strained, the after effects include sharp pain, swelling and an inability to move the joint. Once the initial swelling has decreased then it will be time to participate in aquatic therapy.
Aquatic therapy allows for exercises to be done with less gravitational force, plus buoyancy, hydrostatic pressure and warm water. The weight-bearing aspect of rehabilitation is eliminated, and the joints are supported with buoyancy. This is because in the water gravitational pull is almost completely removed from the picture. Because of this it is easier on the ligament to move. This helps the ligament gain more strength and range of motion much earlier in the process than with traditional “land” therapy.
Hydrostatic pressure stabilizes the torn ligament, and warm water reduces pain by calming muscle spasms around the injury. The next most common type of injury that is treated with aquatic therapy is muscle strains. A strain is an overstretching or tearing of a muscle or a tendon connecting a muscle to the bone. The severity of the strain may range from a slight injury to a complete rupture or tear. Strains can result from overtraining, muscle fatigue, muscle weakness or imbalance, and improper training. The hamstrings, the back of the thigh and the lower back are particularly susceptible to strains.
Muscle strain treatments include rest, ice, compression and elevation to reduce pain and swelling. In some cases, anti-inflammatory medication is prescribed for excessive pain and swelling. After the pain and swelling have diminished, a patient can perform exercises to increase range of motion and strength. A physical therapist may help correct a muscle imbalance by stretching what is too tight, and strengthening what is too weak. For a strained hamstring, a therapist will lead you in exercises designed to strengthen the hamstring and stretch the quadriceps, the opposing muscle group.
Aquatic therapy helps heal a muscle strain faster than traditional ‘land’ therapy by again using buoyancy in the treatments. The heat of the pool plays a big part as well because it keeps the muscles warmed up during the exercises, which makes them more flexible and give them a wider range of motion. Being treated in the water also allows for more improvement in balance and strength in all muscle directions. Having less gravity in the pool helps to keep the muscles relaxed while not requiring them to take on all of a person’s body weight right away, but still get the improvement and exercise needed to help the injury heal.
Arthritis is one of the more interesting ‘injuries’ I have found that has excellent results when treated by aquatic therapy. Arthritis of the knee is one of the most common types of arthritis that is treated with aquatic therapy. It occurs when the cartilage covering the knee joints wears away. Typically, a person develops arthritis of the knees as they age. A person will also begin to experience pain and stiffness in the affected area. Prior injuries and instability of the muscles surrounding the joint add to the risk of developing the condition. Being overweight also increases the chance of a person getting arthritis of the knees.
Arthritis causes high amounts of pain and can discourage a person from wanting to perform any exercise, which can then lead to stiff and more painful joints. Pain can often keep someone from high-impact exercise. Aquatic therapy is the best form of treatment because water eliminates the weight you usually put on your knee. Aquatic exercise adds support as a person moves and stretches in the water and aids in preventing them from stumbling or falling. The resistance and hydrostatic pressure of water can relieve any edema or swelling and provides relief for aching joints. Altogether a person can benefit from the strengthening and weight-stabilizing effects of exercise without the pain associated with weight-bearing exercise when you work out in the water versus working out on land. An interesting health problem that is also treated with aquatic therapy is Cerebral Palsy.
Cerebral Palsy is described as a group of chronic conditions affecting body movement and muscle coordination. This condition is caused by damage to one or more specific areas of the brain before, during, or shortly after birth. While there is no cure for cerebral palsy, this condition is not considered a disease nor is it progressive; instead it is “a complex of symptoms covering a wide number of neurological consequences that interfere with motor function and daily activities” (Falvo 46).Aquatic therapy assists with improving the physical part of this health problem. It can also actually a safer form of therapy because there is no possibility of hurting one’s self by falling down and losing your balance.
Patients can walk, jog, kick, and jump, in both deep and shallow water, depending on age and condition. They can also do a version of underwater yoga where a variety of flotation devices can help, such as noodles, vests, bars, and head floats. The main benefits of using aquatic therapy to help patients with their cerebral palsy is to improve physical function, develop and maintaining physical control, improve psychological outlook, enhance self-concept and confidence and increase independence and quality of life. According to supporters of the aquatic therapy approach, the water is able to relax patients in ways other forms of therapy have been unable to achieve.
“Aquatic therapy helps cerebral palsy by helping with gaining range of motion, increase of strength, achievement of gross motor milestones, increased tactile input, helps with breath support and better social interaction (Renni 35).” Although traditional physical therapy can be immensely effective in teaching patients with cerebral palsy how to move, water has the added benefit of hydrating, oxygenating and revitalizing the body’s musculoskeletal system. Gravitational pull is alleviated, and characteristics of weightlessness can be achieved. Range of movement increases, and repetition, stretching and balancing can become more sustainable with time.
Additionally, the viscosity of the water provides an excellent source of resistance. This can be brought into aquatic therapy programs for the patients as well. For example, walking in water provides more than 10 times more resistance than walking on land. The main goal of aquatic therapy treatments for patients with cerebral palsy is to aim at giving the person with cerebral palsy more independence. Using aquatic therapy versus “land” therapy to treat cerebral palsy has many benefits. Some of these benefits include how the patient is able to move in the water without fear of falling and hurting their body even more when hitting the floor.
Another is that aquatic therapy decreases spasticity and teaches a more varied motor function. Sometimes in severe cases swimming is the only way a person with cerebral palsy can exercise or move independently. It is important to know which kind of therapy will provide the best results for a patient’s injury. If the wrong therapy is provided then it may not heal the injury correctly or as fast as it could have. In order to be informed, patients need to know the benefits of aquatic therapy, and how they differ from traditional therapy. This is why people need to know which injuries are healed the fastest using this method of therapy over “land” therapy.
Reference Page
Barlowe, Barrett . “Aquatic Exercises For Arthritis Of The Knee | LIVESTRONG.COM.” LIVESTRONG.COM – Lose Weight & Get Fit with Diet, Nutrition & Fitness Tools | LIVESTRONG.COM. N.p., 14 June 2011. Web. 6 Dec. 2012. . Brody, Lori Thein., and Paula Richley Geigle. Aquatic Exercise for Rehabilitation and Training. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2009. Print. Cole, Andrew J., and Bruce E. Becker. Comprehensive Aquatic Therapy. Philadelphia, PA: Butterworth Heinemann, 2004. Print. Cudeiro, J. “Aquatic therapy versus conventional la… [Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2011] – PubMed – NCBI.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. N.p., 10 Aug. 2012. Web. 6 Dec. 2012. . Donatelli, Robert. Physical Therapy of the Shoulder. St. Louis: Churchill Livingstone, 2012. Print. Fairley, Miki. “Oandp.com.” Sister Kenny: Confronting the Conventional in Polio
Treatment. The O&P EDGE, Nov.2008. Web. 11 Dec. 2012.
.
Kiss, Agnes. New Techniques in Aqua Therapy. Orlando: Rivercross Pub., 1999. Print. Koury, Joanne M. Aquatic Therapy Programming: Guidelines for Rehabilitation. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 1996. Print Salzman, Andrea. Aquatic Therapy Answer Book. N.p.: ATU, 2002. N. pag. Print. Miller, Freeman. Physical Therapy of Cerebral Palsy. Secaucus: Springer, 2007.Print. Renni, Jeannette. Learning Disability: Physical Therapy Treatment and Management: A Collaborative Appoach. 2nd ed. Hoboken: Wiley, 2007. Print. Sova, Ruth. Aquatic Exercise. 2nd ed. N.p.: DSL, 2000. Print. Vargas, Luis G. Aquatic Therapy: Interventions and Applications. Ravensdale, WA: Idyll Arbor, 2004. Print. Voza, Luann . “Physical Therapy For Strained Muscles & Ligaments | LIVESTRONG.COM.” Live Strong. N.p., 29 Apr. 2012.

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
As humans we are designed to move continuously. We naturally climb trees, run and play, go up…
For as low as $7/Page
Order Essay

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

*

*