Water Therapy Exercise Profile for Pain Management

Source: Spine Health

Water therapy exercise is a collection of exercises and treatments done in a swimming pool. This program has been designed to provide relief from neck and back pain. It also conditions and strengthens muscles to avoid back pain in the future.

Such a program is helpful when a land-based exercise program is not feasible due to disability, the intensity of pain, and decreased bone density. It is ideal for patients of:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Advanced osteoporosis
  • Muscle strain
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure


Water’s physical properties make it a desirable medium for exercising.

Buoyancy: this supports the patient’s weight thus improving strength and balance.

Viscosity: this strengthens and conditions an injury while reducing further risk

Hydrostatic pressure: this maintains and enhances lung and heart function 

Water Exercise Therapy Limitations and Considerations

Patients with back pain should not perform water-based activities without the supervision of a health professional. The temperature of the water might be warm to accommodate for few conditions. It is not suitable for people with:

  • Severe heart failure
  • Infection
  • Incontinence
  • Fever
  • Limited endurance
  • Limited eyesight
  • Impaired sense of the position of the body.
  • Osteoporosis 
  • Water Therapy Exercises
  • Techniques in water therapy exercise include
  • Floating pool exercises
  • Spa therapy
  • Conditioning using equipment like flotation devices and surgical tubing
  • Swimming

The exercises in water therapy are diverse. They need to be tailored according to the person’s condition. 

Pool Therapy Exercise Techniques

Basic techniques for pool therapy exercises are:

  • Knee-to-chest exercise. 
  • Leg raise exercise. 
  • Wall-facing leg stretch exercise. 
  • Pool walking exercise. 
  • Quadruped activity and exercise. 

Spa treatments often accompany water therapy for the treatment of back pain. Relaxing in warm water relaxes the muscles and improves the blood circulation. Consequently, the body becomes flexible and prepared for exercise. 

Combined Water Therapy for Back Exercise with Land-based Methods

If a back injury makes exercising on land tough, water therapy can be used as a short-term option. It can also be incorporated in an ongoing exercise program as well. People can also switch back to exercising on land once they are done with water therapy.

Few people find a combination of dry and wet exercise environments highly beneficial. Aquatic exercise is the best option for managing spine pain. A water medium is excellent for many as it provides an effective and safe method for spine pain management while improving function.

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