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Arthritis and Hydrotherapy

Written by Susannah Keppo, Exercise Physiologist at Croydon Park. Article from July 2019

Arthritis and Hydrotherapy

NDIS Optimum Health Solutions

For those suffering from arthritis, it can be challenging to find a suitable form of exercise that doesn’t aggravate your joints and cause pain. At a few Optimum studios, we have hydrotherapy pools which have proven to be very beneficial for managing arthritis-related pain, improving overall functioning and enhancing the quality of life.

There are some particular benefits to exercising in the water such as:

  • Therapeutic effect of the water temperature – hydrotherapy pools are typically heated to 33-35 degrees Celsius to provide a warm environment that can loosen up stiff joints and provide relief for sore muscles
  • Most public swimming pools are heated to 26-28 degrees Celsius which is more suitable for those performing lap swimming which is typically more vigorous
  • Hydrostatic pressure – this is the pressure exerted on your body and joints from the water itself. It has been shown to reduce acute swelling in joints, particularly the further submerged you are
  • Increased buoyancy – the further submerged you are in the water, the lighter you will feel, thus it makes movements easier and takes the pressure off sore joints. For example, climbing up and downstairs is usually challenging, performing this movement in the water will be much easier as your bodyweight is more supported by the water around you
  • Resistance of the water – you can adjust exercises based on how much or how little resistance you would like

If you have never tried hydrotherapy before and think it might be beneficial for you, talk to your exercise physiologist who can help you achieve your health and wellbeing goals. Even if you are not a strong swimmer, it is usually fine, as you do not have to submerge your head under the water or try and float on your back, as most of the exercises will be standing or sitting on a chair in the water.

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