Does your recovery need hydrotherapy?

06 February 2019

Hydrotherapy may a useful addition to your rehabilitation programme following injury or surgery.  It increases strength, balance and flexibility – essential to regaining normal function – and is less likely to exacerbate any pain due to the fact that the water reduces the load through your joints.  In the early days when you could be sore, the effect of the water supporting your limb means it is easier to move through a full range of movement, rather than struggling on land without any buoyancy assistance. 

As you progress through your recovery and the pain of your injury or surgery decreases, your hydrotherapist will increase the difficulty of the exercises and this can be at a quicker pace than if you were exercising in a gym.

So, why hydrotherapy?

  1. You have to work your muscles harder moving through water.

The water provides support to your body but you will have to overcome the resistance of the water to move yourself around in the pool.  So it’s deceptive – you don’t feel you’re working harder, when in fact you are.  Patients often notice how tired their limbs feel once they get out of the pool


  1. Because the water supports your body, you can put more weight through your joints without increasing pain.

One of the physical properties of water is buoyancy – the upward force exerted by the water that opposes the weight of an immersed object.  In other words, if your body is submerged in deep water, the water itself tries to push you up toward the surface and provides support to your joints that you wouldn’t have ‘on land’.


  1. It improves balance reactions effectively.

The water supports your body, so dependent on the depth of the pool, it can take up to 12 times longer to fall if you lose your balance.  Plenty of times to right yourself if you think you’re going to fall!


  1. You will have more of a cardio workout in the pool as you are working all your body once it’s immersed.

It’s really important to rehabilitate everything to do with fitness as general fitness and functional ability are inseparable.  Once in the pool, you can tailor your programme to address cardiovascular fitness as well as recovering from your surgery or your injury.


  1. You will feel stronger, fitter and more confident, especially if you do your own hydro programme a couple of times a week.

Like with any fitness programme, you will increase in strength and function with ongoing exercise.  Patients certainly see the benefit of hydrotherapy treatment in their day to day life, especially when they have been committed to a regular programme of pool exercise


Hydrotherapy is definitely worth considering if you’re serious about getting back to fitness as soon as possible. 

If you’d like to discuss hydrotherapy options with Sarah at Spire Cardiff Hospital please call: 029 2054 2509.

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