What are the most common hydrotherapy exercises?
Hydrotherapy aka Aquatic Physiotherapy has a myriad of clinical and therapeutic benefits that have been studied for decades. Not only is the water heated specifically to 34 degrees to maximise the positive effect on your body, hydrotherapy sessions are run by expertly qualified physiotherapists that specialise in utilising the principles of aquatic physiotherapy to help recover from a range of sporting injuries, along with a range of physical conditions.
Hydrotherapy is clinically proven to help with:
- Orthopaedic rehabilitation
- Joint replacement surgery (hip, knee, shoulder)
- Arthritic conditions (rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, ankylosing spondylitis)
- Back and neck pain
- Weight loss/Obesity
- Pregnancy fitness and aquanatal classes
- Chronic pain sufferers
- Sports injuries
- Cardiac rehabilitation
- Aerobic fitness
- Elderly patients with decreased mobility
- Hydrotherapy for burns
What exercises are commonly performed in aquatic physiotherapy?
That depends on the injuries or condition of the patient. Anybody that has suffered a major injury knows that recovery is a long process and can be an exercise in one’s patience. Healing takes time, and dedication to the exercises specifically prescribed by your physio is going to help build strength, endurance and function. This is where Hydrotherapy comes in.
Hydrotherapy or aquatic physiotherapy utilises the water’s extra buoyancy and heat to create an environment with less pressure and weight. This means there is less force on muscles, joints and injuries overall compared to rehabilitation programs on land.
The state-of-the-art hydrotherapy pool at Lane Cove provides a relaxing environment at 34 degrees to perform any specialised stretching routine. The buoyancy and temperature allow for increased soft tissue extensibility and the ability to hold stretches at their optimal position. Depending on the program your musculoskeletal physiotherapist has created, your stretches may be high or low in intensity. Stretching can be a great way to recover from injury or to aid with the treatment of musculoskeletal injuries, but it isn’t a cure-all.
- Core strengthening
Core body strength is essential for not only athletes, but the average person as well. The core controls many day to day movements along with protecting the spine and back from damage. Hydrotherapy programs that include upper and lower extremity exercises will help strengthen the core due to the extra role the core plays in the water. For example, standing leg kicks in the water require single leg balance along with core strength to stabilise the movement. Your physio may also include exercises such as leg lifts, which strengthen the rectus abdominis to not only get that six-pack but also support your lower back.
- Balance and proprioception
This is where Hydrotherapy really blows other exercises and treatments out of the water. Balance and proprioception are important to athletes, but they are also just as important to the elderly and those recovering from particular injuries. The extra buoyancy and stability of the hydrotherapy pool allows balance exercises to be more carefully administered. Balance exercises are usually non or low-impact, but impact exercises such as hopping on one leg may be suitable for some patients. Other common balance exercises include hip flexion/extension in waist deep water along with single-leg balancing exercises while your centre of gravity is being moved by making waves with a kickboard. Once you get really advanced your physio might even pull out the blindfold and see if you can complete a number of exercises using your neuromuscular responses rather than sight.
For more information about Hydrotherapy in Sydney, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly staff at Lane Cove physio on 02 9428 5772 or come on down and check it out for yourself.