Aquatic Therapy

Aquatic Therapy

Aquatic Therapy based on people with bleeding disorders

In the past, people with bleeding disorders have been told to proceed with caution with some types of physical therapy, as some health professionals thought the movement could cause bleeding. Now, doctors and physiotherapists give patients the green light for many types of therapies. They even encourage patients to participate in certain exercises, especially swimming to build strength, prevent muscle wasting and reduce pain.

Therapy, aquatic or terrestrial, however, is not the same for everyone. People with bleeding disorders should know what is appropriate for their symptoms, age and overall health, saysMichael Uttecht, leading clinical physiotherapist at the MedStar University Hospital in Georgetown in Washington, DC, a hemophilia treatment center.

Aquatic therapy provides an excellent environment for a person with advanced joint arthropathy (damage caused by internal bleeding) and must be exercised safely,” says Uttecht. “However, this antigravity environment will only strengthen the body to a limit. If continuous strengthening is the goal, then ground exercises should be put into practice. ”

Time in the pool

Grace Volsen, a physical therapist at the Wenatchee Valley Medical Center in Washington, recommends aquatic therapy to all of her patients with bleeding disorders. She says that the main benefit of exercising in the pool is that the patient can discharge approximately 65% ​​of their body weight through the buoyancy of the water. This helps increase strength and function, release their range of motion and reduce swelling and pain, he says.

In addition, aquatic therapy for patients with hemophilia positively affects motor performance and offers better aerobic capacity and mechanics, according to a study published in the journal “Hemophilia” in 2010. This is good news for people with motor disorders. clotting, says John J. Strouse, assistant professor of pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Hematology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. “I’m excited to see the studies that provide support for exercise-based interventions, since exercise is essential for a healthy life and an important component in maintaining a healthy weight.”

The results of this study are based on what clinical research has been doing for a long time. “Hemophilia providers have recommended exercise in water and other low-impact activities for many years but with little evidence,” says Strouse. “This study demonstrates a profound increase in aerobic capacity thanks to aquatic exercise and significant improvements. (approximately an increase of 15%) “.

The variety of water depths and customized programs, which mix aerobic activity, strength can help patients of all ages. However, some people, including those with skin disorders, incontinence or allergies to certain water treatments, should avoid aqua therapy, says Volsen.

Aquatic therapy can also help people with bleeding disorders prepare for surgery, such as knee replacements. It teaches them strengthening exercises can be done before and after the operation, says Volsen. “Once the surgeon drifts a patient for therapy, working against the buoyancy of the water is ideal for the ankles, knees, hips and shoulders.”

After attending a physical therapy program run by a credentialed instructor, patients are encouraged to continue exercising in the pool on their own. The hot water, around 34 degrees, is ideal for aquatic therapy. The heated swimming pools can be a good option for the treatment of warm waters.

Volsen says that the optimal program for people with bleeding disorders combines hydrotherapy with ground-based therapy, which helps patients transfer their gains in the pool to the ground. “An aquatic environment gives the patient an opportunity to work in the range of movement and strength. This translates into activities in daily life, “she says. “They have more strength for housework, leisure and work.”

Out of the water

While terrestrial therapy is an option for some people with bleeding disorders, others have conditions that prevent them from trying. “It’s not good for everyone, especially for patients who have no physical condition, or weak, or overweight, or in poor health,” says Uttecht, who has been a physiotherapist for 15 years. A water environment is more supportive in those cases, he says.

The biggest drawback of land-based therapy is the amount of stress placed on the body. However, for the younger ones, set healthy, exercises on land to build strength better, Uttecht says.

Exercises performed in the gym or at home should be adapted individually for the patient, and for those who have chronic bleeding in the affected joints.

People with bleeding disorders should be lifelong learners of their condition, Uttecht says. “Life is a continuous learning process. We have to be smarter and see what is appropriate in each stage of life. ”

An aquatic environment only strengthens the body to a limit, says Uttecht. People with bleeding disorders should resort to exercises on land if permanent consolidation therapy is the goal.


Bonus: The Benefits of Aquatic Therapy

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