Osteoarthritis Water Therapy

Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is a degenerative condition of the joints. Caused by daily wear and tear, the cartilage which shields our bones deteriorates, permitting the bones to grind or rub against one another. Without a shock-absorbing layer, rubbing bones can produce stiffness, swelling, and even severe pain. For some, simply walking can be pure agony.

While the medical profession does offer medication to aid in combating osteoarthritis aches and pains, there are a number of natural remedies being recommended. One of the prescribed therapies is called Osteoarthritis Water Therapy.

What Is Osteoarthritis Water Therapy?

Water therapy, otherwise known as aqua therapy, hydrotherapy, or swimming pool therapy, utilizes the buoyancy of water to counteract the pull of gravity. Studies have proven more than 50 percent of body weight is supported when in a pool or therapeutic tub with waist-deep water. Over 90 percent of one’s body weight is supported in neck-deep water. For many afflicted with osteoarthritis, especially of the knees, spine or hips, the simple reduction of weight on the joints facilitates the completion exercises.

In addition to facilitating ease of movement, osteoarthritis water therapy plays an important role on the cardiovascular system. Health care practitioners note many patients see improved circulation, heart function, and muscular strength.

What Exercises Can Be Performed?

Do not be surprised to discover many land-based exercise programs or physical therapy moves can be performed in water. Across Canada, many public swimming pools or health care facilities with therapeutic hot tubs offer regular classes. These may include:

Strength Training: Utilizes water weights, swim gloves and other handheld tools to work against water resistance.

Cardio & Aerobic Training: Expect to discover the joy of water walking, water jogging or running, and ski movements, all to aid the spine and hips.

Body Stretching: Simple, yet rewarding movements which help stretch the neck, upper back, arms, legs, lower back and legs.

Tai Chi or Ai Chi: Depending on your location, Water Tai Chi or the hybrid Ai Chi, is a popular water therapy offering. Using gentle, slow movements in conjunction to controlled breathing exercises, this water-based training helps improve your balance and strength on land. Many report improved joint flexibility after 8-10 weeks of Tai Chi or Ai Chi.

Is Osteoarthritis Water Therapy For You?

Whether you are suffering on the early onset of osteoarthritis or find yourself struggling with pain management, talk to your health care professional about water workouts. Water therapy can provide an ideal balance between a strength and cardio workout, while offering relaxation, rehabilitation, and oftentimes weight management.

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