Using Hydrotherapy To Manage Recovery For A Spinal Cord Injury

  • January 27, 2016

A spinal cord injury usually occurs when the spine receives a sudden and traumatic blow, causing a fracture or vertebrae to dislocate. The damage begins when any displaced disc materials or bone fragments tear into the spinal cord tissue. When the vertebrae are compressed, it crushes and destroys axons which are extensions of nerve cells that carry signals up and down the spinal cord to and from the brain and body.

Depending on the severity of the damage, the patient’s nervous system may be affected in one or more ways. Fortunately, treatment is available for these issues and one of them is hydrotherapy. Also known as aquatic therapy, it takes advantage of the thermal and hydrodynamic properties of water to help create a safe and therapeutic environment for patients with physical dysfunction, such as spinal cord injury. Read on to find out more on how hydrotherapy helps manage recovery for such injuries!

Uses the heat conducting properties of water

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With the availability of a heated pool, the exercises that a patient can’t perform on land can now be easily completed in water. When the water temperature in the pool reaches somewhere between eighty-five and ninety-five degrees Fahrenheit, it relaxes the back muscles of the patient and promotes easy stretching. A heated pool also allows the therapist to match appropriate activities according to the water’s temperature to effectively reduce pain symptoms and spasticity in a patient.

Making full use of resistance and viscosity

The water’s resistance in the pool allows your muscles to work harder without overloading or stressing your joints. As your body moves through the water, the water molecules that cling to your body, stick to each other as well. This provides greater resistance than air, and will allow you to work harder in a safe way while you rebuild your strength and ability to perform a particular movement. With the help of resistance, you can also speed up your progress without sustaining further injury.

When you perform an exercise on land, gravity may only allow you to strengthen one muscle group at a time. But with the presence of viscosity, it provides an equal amount of resistance in all planes of motion. These will ensure that one or more of your muscle groups in the back region get a good workout – by using a single exercise. This also creates a better balance between the muscle groups so that one group does not overcome the opposing group.

Its hydrostatic pressure help reduce soreness

In therapy, hydrostatic pressure can be used to assist in lymphatic and venous blood flow. In fact, the natural pressure gradient allows you to exercise without getting sore. The pressure will also help reduce the buildup of lactic acid and delivers it to the liver instead. There are other benefits that come with hydrostatic pressure as well which includes promoting body detoxification; enhancing cardiac functions and venous returns; and putting less strain on your cardiovascular system.

When it comes to managing spinal cord injuries, you consider pediatric aquatic therapy. Hydrotherapy can help you achieve therapeutic goals in a fun way, and the therapists will work closely with you or your child to ensure that the process is safe and well-supervised.

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