Hydrotherapy can help with arthritis

Hydrotherapy can help people who are dealing with arthritis by moving the joints underwater.
Hydrotherapy can help people who are dealing with arthritis by moving the joints underwater.

DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - One of the keys to dealing with arthritis is staying active - constantly moving the joint.

Hydrotherapy is one form of physical therapy and exercise.

Juanita Smith has been doing hydrotherapy for 11 years.  She has arthritis and a total knee replacement.

"I can do things here that I can't do outside or even in the gym.  I can't walk like a lot of people. My neighbors walk two or three miles a day," said Smith. "I can't walk, but I can do water aerobics and I can do the bicycles."

She said she feels rejuvenated after class and can tackle housework and errands with ease.

One of the areas where aquatic therapy really helps is for patients who have Fibromyalgia or Arthritis.

"We use physical therapy in the water or aquatic therapy for those who are in a lot of pain.  Patients can come with hip pain, knee pain, back pain; they might have a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, Arthritis; and it's such a better environment for them to work in," said physical therapist Vida McLeary.

She said here it doesn't seem as hard.  The buoyancy of the water is less stressful on the joints.

"The warm water soothes them, so it's a much less painful environment," said McLeary.

In fact, McLeary said just working out in warm water can be beneficial for your health.

"When you're not having physical therapy, you can actually try to avoid it. Just exercise in the warm water, keep your strength up, keep your range of motion going, keep your mobility good.  You can avoid a lot of things.  You can avoid physical therapies or surgeries," she said.

These exercises and hydro physical therapy helps with the flex and extension of muscles.

Be sure to check with your doctor. There may be a problem with some people who have high blood pressure.

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