Children's aquatherapy growing as addition to physical treatment - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Children's aquatherapy growing as addition to physical treatments

An aquatherapy program is helping children with chronic conditions increase mobility. (Source: WAFF) An aquatherapy program is helping children with chronic conditions increase mobility. (Source: WAFF)
DECATUR, AL (WAFF) -

Many of us have seen how aquatherapy can help older people recovering from strokes or arthritis - but did you know it can help children with debilitating diseases as well?

Elizabeth Alexander is excited on this day because she knows she has aquatherapy at the Decatur Morgan Hospital's heated therapy pool.  

The 13-year-old was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and epilepsy.

Her physical therapist, Stacy Palmer, has several children as clients. She says the warmth of the water allows them to relax and enjoy increase movement. 

"Some of the kids I have, have spasticity, and it allows all that tone just to relax, and they get a lot more range of motion, they enjoy it," said Palmer. "So a lot of times they're more motivated to move."

Palmer said the warm water also helps children with chronic pain conditions to ease, and allow them more freedom of movement.

For children like Elizabeth, that means strength building, according to Palmer.

"They also balance more in the water because, again of the input of the water, it allows increased weight bearing on their joints," said the therapist.

Palmer says that strength building, muscle control and balance can also transfer from water to land.  Elizabeth is a prime example.

Her mom, Daniella Alexander, sees a lot of changes at home.   

"Our most impressive is the pain... the pain relief," Daniella said. "Her medication that she's been on for pain has been decreased. Her function, her mobility... just her whole quality of life in general has gotten better since we've been here."

She says her daughter can't wait for treatments.

"She loves the water. She loves Miss Stacy. This program has been fantastic for her."

A physical treatment which seems to heal the body and spirit and is enjoyed by young patients.  

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