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Water therapy relieves aches and pains

Al Musella's Comments: (This is his personal views and are not necessarily the views of the Musella Foundation!)


Posted on: 10/18/2002

Tri-Health Report

Water therapy relieves aches and pains

Reporter: Jody Myers

Evansville, IN October 18 -- It's a proven fact that people who are physically active are healthier and live longer than people who are inactive.

But for those suffering from arthritis, physical activity can be painful and uncomfortable.

A program offered at Healthsouth Tri-State Rehabilitation Hospital is transforming painful excercise to pleasure for many of its patients.

Exercising in the pool for aquatic therapy gives individuals new motivation.

"The warm water is wonderful for soothing out stiffness and the soreness of an individual's joints," recreation therapist Ginny France said.

The warm water is relaxing, and allows patients like Christine Shipley to do many things that once seemed impossible.

"The first time I came," Shipley said, "I was in a wheelchair and they helped me take my first two steps."

Shipley first went to Healthsouth with a brain tumor.

"I was paralyzed on my right side with the brain tumor," she said, "and we started therapy as soon as my oncologist said I was ready."

The advantage of exercising in warm water is that movements are possible in the unrestricted environment. The buoyancy of the water reduces the force of gravity, allowing individuals to regain their strength and endurance faster.

The weightlessness allows exercises to be performed that are too tough to do on land. This type of therapy has really helped Shipley.

"She's really grown in her independence," France said.

"I can go up and down steps the normal way instead of one leg at a time," Shipley said, "and my balance is so much better after working in the water."

The range of motion excercises help Shipley maintain normal joint movement and relieve stiffness.

"It's been great to see her increase her range of motion in her arms," France said. "She's able to extend her arm up higher in the air as we do exercises now."

Shipley is almost completely rehabilitated and healthy again. She plans to use the water therapy classes to keep it that way for the rest of her life.

"Today, I'm driving a car and getting ready to live independently again," she said. "So it has really helped me."

Aerobic excercises can also be done in the water to improve cardiovascular fitness, help control weight and increase endurance.

You don't have to be in a therapy program to benefit from water workouts.

If you'd like to try a warm water therapy class at Healthsouth, there are two classes offered every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

The first class is from 8:15 a.m.-9:15 a.m, and the second class runs from 9:15 a.m.-10:15 a.m.

For more information, call Healthsouth at 476-9983.

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