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St. E. Healthy Headlines: Is aquatic therapy right for you? Here are some things to consider

St. Elizabeth Healthcare

Maybe you’re recovering from surgery – or perhaps you’re finally ready to tackle that nagging injury that’s giving you pain. No matter what your reason for pursuing physical therapy, it can positively impact your daily life.

There is a little-known but helpful alternative for many physical therapy patients: aquatic therapy.

This specialized form of physical therapy is aquatic-based, meaning it addresses each patient’s specific needs in the water instead of on land.

St. Elizabeth Sports Medicine offers aquatic therapy at the Wilder location – and they see up to 20 aquatic patients each day.

“In the water, you weigh less – so it’s less painful for your back, feet, hips and knees,” says Damara Lackmeyer, a licensed physical therapist at St. Elizabeth Healthcare Sports Medicine. “Most of our patients have heard about us from word-of-mouth – and they’re intrigued at how aquatic therapy can help them feel better.”

Benefits of Aquatic Therapy

Aquatic therapy can help to increase joint flexibility, muscle strength and core stability. Patients benefiting from aquatic therapy include those with:

· Arthritis
· Balance issues
· High fall risk
· Joint pain
· Mobility concerns
· Obesity

“The water helps warm up the muscles and keep them warm throughout the session,” says Damara. “It’s easier to do more in the water than on the land because you’re less tight and stiff, so you have more ease of motion.”

Physical therapy is different based on each patient, but a typical care plan encompasses an initial six to eight weeks of aquatic therapy. However, sometimes the aquatic team sees patients for only a few visits to get an exercise plan established, and the patient continues the routine in their local pool.

In addition to surgery recovery and injury rehabilitation, neurological patients with balance defects have found success with aquatic therapy.

“Patients with MS or neurological difficulties don’t have to fight gravity on the pool treadmill,” says Damara. “Without the fear of falling, it’s so freeing for our patients to do things in the water that they can’t easily do on land.”

Initial physical therapy assessment

Patients must have a referral from a doctor to begin physical therapy – and the St. Elizabeth physical therapy team has a tip to help you get an appointment more quickly, especially if you or a loved one would like to try aquatic therapy.

“You can schedule an initial assessment at any St. Elizabeth Physical Therapy location,” says Damara. “Once the physical therapist has established a care plan, they can transfer the patient directly to our team for aquatic therapy and we’ll continue treatment from there.”

Aquatic therapy is a great treatment option for many physical therapy patients – and St. Elizabeth Healthcare offers it to the community at its Wilder location.

Schedule an appointment today

For more information or to schedule an assessment at any St. Elizabeth location, please call central scheduling at (859) 655-7400. For questions and information on aquatic therapy, please call St. Elizabeth Sports Medicine Wilder at (859) 572-2360.

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