Hydrotherapy for Arthritis

Approximately 20 million Americans suffering from arthritis seek medical attention for their chronic, and sometimes acute, condition. Currently, there is no cure for arthritis, and conventional medical treatment is not entirely effective in preventing or stopping the pain and disability that results from arthritis. A variety of methods, allopathic and alternative, exist to manage the symptoms of arthritis. Exercise therapy has been proven effective in relieving pain and improving mobility—however, for people with arthritis, normal exercise can be painful. Hydrotherapy offers a way to exercise and improve body function without putting so much stress on your painful joints.

Hydrotherapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Hydrotherapy can be a beneficial form of treatment for individuals with arthritic conditions. During hydrotherapy, a person is submersed in water, either to soak or to exercise. A hydrotherapist can instruct a patient on the types of movements appropriate for his or her condition. Hydrotherapy can be especially useful to treat the joint pain and stiffness associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The painful swelling in the joints that occurs with rheumatoid arthritis has been shown to decrease with hydrotherapy. The warmth of the water is effective on the joints and soft tissues to decrease swelling and improve mobility in those joints. When you are in the water, the gravitational forces on the body are reduced; thus, the joints have a lighter load to bear during exercise.

Hydrotherapy with warm water  can also help increase blood flow, delivering more oxygen-rich blood to areas of the body that need it. Warm water is soothing to the muscles and can release tension associated with arthritic conditions, decreasing pain and inflammation in arthritis patients. Several studies have shown that hydrotherapy is an effective treatment to ease the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Hydrotherapy for Osteoarthritis (OA)

Hydrotherapy can also be effective in helping those individuals with osteoarthritis (OA). Several studies have shown that strength training and aerobic exercise can reduce pain and improve the physical function and general health of people with osteoarthritis in their knees. Water’s buoyancy offers an alternative method for getting exercise by allowing easier joint movement and being virtually impact-free, making it an excellent choice for people with painful joints.

Hydrotherapy can help you in a number of different ways:

The warmth of the water allows your muscles to relax and eases the pain in your joints, helping you to exercise.The water can be used to provide resistance to moving your joints. By pushing your arms and legs against the water, you can also improve your muscle strength.