Physical Therapy and Aqua Therapy--did they work for you?

I’ve had low back pain my whole life and hip pain for the last year. I’ve been to one session of PT and the therapist gave me exercises to do at home. She also referred me to aqua therapy and I’ve had a session of that, too. I have six more sessions of aqua therapy to try to learn how to move in a way that properly engages my muscles and to complete land exercises to strengthen the muscles I’ve been ignoring.

The PT assessment is that I have changed my gait in order to protect my joints. In doing so I’m making things a lot worse for myself and increasing pressure and inflammation on my hip bursa, knee, IT band and low back. In the process, my body has all but forgotten how to balance by engaging the small stabalizing muscles, abs and inner thighs. Instead I now tend to lock my knees, brace my spine and move my hips to shift my center of gravity.

I’m totally up for the challenge and my only regret is my aqua therapy appointments all start at either 7:00 or 7:45 am. I’m so NOT a morning person!

Anyone else had positive experiences with aqua therapy?

I did aquatic PT and loved it. Im not very coordinated and always hurt myself with land PT. This was not the case in the waterPt though. Give it a shot and see what happens. You might surprise yourself!"

I go to a warm water therapy pool. Nothing feels better when my tendons are tight. It really helped my gait. Water walking is the best for my inflamed knees and sore feet. It also felt wonderful on my sore lower back, and arm movements helped my shoulders and sternum tightness. I hope you enjoy it and get some good results!

I was put on a course of 'Health and movement ’ in 2011 which was a new course started by the OT department at my local hospital (I was referred by one of my Rheumatology nurses) The course lasted for 8 - 10 sessions and was a 30 min discussion of different aspects of dealing/ coping with different everyday challenges we face, followed by 30 mins of Shibashi Tai Chi based exercise. The course was great, very gentle and as we got to know each other (about 10 -15 in a class) we would laugh at our “percussion” of creaks, cracks during each exercise. I was slightly embarrassed at first that I was by far the youngest in the group. But after the first session I realised the benefit of this class.

My local gym runs different Aqua courses, some for the more active, some for less active, it is all set to music, we use floats to help tone muscles and either work in singular or double time depending on what our body can cope with.

These are NOT a cure, they do not make me better. But they help me retain as much flexibility and motion as possible and keep my muscles as strong as possible and in turn help my joints.

My OT and physios have never made me change the way I naturally move, as a 50 something I have been moving the way I have so long that to change would not be beneficial is how it was explained to me. They did however try and minimize the further damage I could cause by suggesting I change the way I sleep (used to sleep on my front but with one led partly raised…apparently this was bad for the ankle tendons on my straight leg)
Resting splints were also made by my OT to keep my wrists in a good position at night.

I did aquatic therapy years ago after back surgery. It was definitely helpful for strengthening, especially because I had balance issues at that point due to foot drop and nerve damage.

I will be starting aquatic therapy next week and am so looking forward to it. I understand I will be using a therapy system with two therapists that is supposed to strengthen muscles and loosen tendons for peak usage without stress on the joints. I used to be able to dead lift seventy-five pounds and I only weighed one-twenty at the time. I can still carry up to fifty pounds but it is very hard to hold onto( bad hands) and when the pressure in my hip starts I am done. I lose my balance because my big toes are fused and my right leg is turning outward .

I think we are going to be working on those issues in particular. (I hope) I really want to lose all of those pounds that have crept up on me ( I'm sure I helped :) because I can no longer exercise as I would like to. I still get lots compared to some but not enough to keep me where I like to be. This dumb PsA takes all of my strength away and when I go out and get really active, it lasts about two hours and then I just fade away like a Popsicle in the sun. Aquatic therapy is a good start at least!!! I hope so ... at least it's time for me!

Thanks for your responses, everyone. I’m looking forward to my next aqua therapy session on Tuesday. I am hopeful for a good outcome but I think six sessions after the initial intake seems mighty short to be able to notice progress. But I’m hoping to be proven wrong. Cheers, friends!

As you all ready know Jane I love my aqua therapy. I go to PT every year or every other year depending on what my insurance will pay for. I think my policy pays for 30 visits in a calendar year. But I find PT teaches me the exercises but then I have to keep doing them twice a week. I find PT is good for teaching me new moves but I have to figure out how to motivate myself when I am doing independent study after PT ends. Right now it is coffee and a doughnut after I finish! Maybe I can find one lower in calories! PT has always given me a laminated card to take to the pool with me to continue my exercises. Good luck! I hope you enjoy them. If you get bored try doughnuts! (or a gluten free muffin!)