Hydrotherapy and why it works

  • 26th November 2018
  • Neurological Physiotherapy, Rehabilitation

At SPEAR Sports Injury and Physiotherapy we specialise in sports injuries and neurological rehabilitation and have a small team of dedicated and highly specialised experienced physiotherapists who treat and rehabilitate people with neurological conditions.

One of the rehabilitation techniques used at SPEAR physiotherapy is Hydrotherapy – which is literally physiotherapy treatment in water.

We are lucky at SPEAR physiotherapy to have access to the pool at Village gym in Kingswells and Aberdeen Aquatics Centre in the Aberdeen Sports Village. The pool at the Village gym has a slightly warmer temperature than regular swimming pools, has steps to access the pool rather than a ladder and there is also hoisting equipment which can be used when required.

For some of our patients after injury or a neurological diagnosis, rehabilitation in water is the key to leading the highest quality of life and in a rehabilitation / recovery capacity too.

But why is that?
Primarily due to water’s unique properties:

  1. The fear of falling evaporates in the water for most people, which makes walking and moving in this environment much easier.
  2. Water buoyancy means that when you are submerged you feel much lighter than when on land, this makes movement less effortful which can result normalising muscle tone.
  3. Water provides resistance which helps improve strength and core stability and all of that is achieved with a much lower perceived physical exertion when in water.

SPEAR Neurological Physiotherapist, Lesley Kay says:” one of the highlights of using hydrotherapy with a patient was when I was working with a patient who was seven years post stroke and struggled with confidence to walk outdoors.  Our goal was to be able to walk around a supermarket and find a hobby she could do to help fill her week! She had enjoyed swimming before her stroke so we tried hydrotherapy at Village gym; for the first few sessions we practised walking in the water and gradually increased fitness levels.”

Lesley continues: “The time spent in the water was enjoyable and beneficial; and it was so rewarding when she was then able to go into the pool with her husband and start enjoying moving in water without a physiotherapist being there! Six months after hydrotherapy started, our patient was able to complete her own shopping at the supermarket without being totally exhausted afterwards, she also went on holiday for the first time and was able to go into the resort swimming pool in the sunshine with her husband – both confident knowing that she was able to safely do!  A smile moment for all of us.”

As with any form of physiotherapy and rehabilitation, hydrotherapy doesn’t help everyone. A good indicator for this is whether you enjoyed being in water and were comfortable in that environment pre-diagnosis; if yes, there is a good chance it will be of benefit to you! Before going into the water, physiotherapists would always complete a risk assessment and go through all past medical history to check it’s safe option for you.

For more information, please contact us here or email info@spearphysiotherapy.co.uk #teamSPEAR