Physical Therapy News Letter June 04, 2012
|Aquatic Exercises for Osteoarthritis|
Osteoarthritis is a common joint disorder. It is a normal result of aging and regular wear and tear on the joints. Weight gain is also a contributing factor.
The bony surfaces at the joints are protected by a rubbery tissue called ‘cartilage’. When the cartilage starts to break down, the bones begin to rub against each other causing swelling, stiffness, and pain. These symptoms begin to appear as one grows older and are often triggered by weight bearing activities (walking, climbing stairs). Past injuries or fractures can also trigger degenerative changes that result in osteoarthritis.
Physical therapy management of individuals suffering from osteoarthritis emphasizes three key areas: exercise, pain relief and specific manual therapy techniques. A combination of these three approaches can alleviate the pain and discomfort caused by this chronic condition.
|Aquatic or Land-based Exercise?|
Exercise is a crucial part of the plan to improve the quality of life for individuals with osteoarthritis. In an effort to determine the effectiveness of exercise for pain relief, both water-based exercise and land-based exercises have been compared.
Both types of exercise are beneficial and help to reduce pain and improve function. The soothing medium of water tends to promote relaxation and is a comfortable environment for muscle strengthening and joint mobility.
Regular exercise, whether it is aquatic or land based, helps reduce joint pain and increase muscle strength. Also, weight loss (which can occur as a result of regular exercise) will decrease pressure on joints and contribute to pain relief. Exercise contributes to a feeling of well-being and reduces the health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
In situations where a pool is not available, land-based exercise is an effective solution. Both types of exercise work well and your physical therapist will help you choose what’s best for you given your condition, comfort level and goals.
|Benefits of Aquatic Exercises|
If you are suffering from pain and discomfort related to osteoarthritis, water is an excellent medium for a safe and soothing exercise program that can reduce pain during and after exercising.
Your physical therapist can provide you with a customized exercise program to help you manage the pain and discomfort associated with osteoarthritis, and the therapist may recommend aquatic exercise. Exercise performed in water allows the muscles to be challenged by water resistance, and also minimizes the weight bearing strain on the joints due to the effect of buoyancy.
With a little assistance from your physical therapist, you can live pain free and increase your mobility. All you have to do is to make an appointment today. Aging doesn’t mean you have to stop being active. Don’t allow painful joints to restrict your lifestyle. Chances are, we can help you. Call us today and start enjoying the benefits of exercise under the supervision of your physical therapist.