“Water is the root of all wellness. It impacts every system in our body.”
That water is life-giving is a universal truth. Everyone knows how water is essential to stay alive. Even 60% of our bodies are made up of water. A part of leading a healthy lifestyle means staying hydrated and drinking at least eight glasses of water every day.
But water is not just something that is meant for your consumption. Water can also prove to be a powerful treatment medium to keep the aches and pains away.
Those who have been experiencing chronic pain for a long time agree that apart from the medications, all possible treatment solutions present a glimmer of hope. Newer treatments, especially natural procedures that don’t have any adverse effect on the body, are exciting to try.
One of the highly recommended treatments for chronic pain is water therapy and aquatic exercises – both use water as the primary healing medium. Learn how water can become your ally and let it wash away your discomfort and pain.
Water Aerobics and Hydrotherapy: Effective Options for Pain Relief
Many people assume that water aerobics is the same as hydrotherapy. Yes, both can help alleviate your body pain and discomfort, but there’s a significant difference between the two.
Let’s consider both individually to understand how one differs from the other. While water aerobics may be for the fitter among us, hydrotherapy can help improve the quality of life for others.
What is Water Aerobics?
As the name suggests, this is aerobics done while in a pool. This is one of the enjoyable forms of getting exercise and reaping the perks of water. The activities done in water aerobics are very similar to those in a “dry” environment, like in the park or a gym, except that you do it while in water.
Water aerobics is an excellent option for those struggling with chronic pain or who want a reprieve from body discomforts. The top advantages of water aerobics is it can be more enjoyable than the usual aerobics if you enjoy water. If you do it in warmer water, the temperature can help with increasing blood flow and decreasing pain.
But aside from that, given that water supports you, your body, specifically your muscles and joints, won’t be subjected to as much pressure and stress while performing the exercises.
While performing the exercises, you are also unconsciously “fighting” against the water providing a resistance-type exercise. This eventually builds your muscle strength. Over time, you will develop stronger muscles that can help you manage the pain better.
The closest activity that hydrotherapy can be likened to is swimming, but it is one that a professional physiotherapist guides. In a hydrotherapy session, you can expect movements to be controlled, slow, and well-calculated. You can be asked to perform passive activities like floating to more active exercises.
This water-based treatment plan is highly recommended to those suffering from arthritis and even children diagnosed with cerebral palsy. That’s because hydrotherapy can help with the pain while promoting motion.
Aside from its ability to reduce pain, hydrotherapy can eventually improve your range of motion and help you release tension, depression, and anxiety. It is a physical and low-impact muscle relaxant, so you can be confident that despite the slow movements, it can ease soreness and release muscle stiffness.
Benefits of Water Exercise for Chronic Pain Management
Water exercise is particularly beneficial for chronic pain because this activity is dependent on three elements: assistance, buoyancy, and resistance.
Assistance can let you perform passive and comfortable stretches, while buoyancy allows you to do these exercises with minimal effort. Lastly, resistance can strengthen your muscles and help with building your endurance.
Aside from this powerful combination, water exercises are advantageous for people with chronic pain because:
#1. It is an effective but low to non-impact workout
When in pain, the last thing you want is to let your muscles and joints exert any effort, but with water exercises, you can have a workout without further straining your body.
Water exercises can relieve discomfort while strengthening your muscles if you are experiencing knee, leg, or hip pain. Water can help your body relax, so most athletes do water exercises for rehabilitation after sustaining an injury.
#2. It builds your muscles with resistance training
Moderate exercise while in water has consistently yielded positive results in reducing chronic pain symptoms. Aside from helping you develop stronger muscles, it relieves inflammation, pressure, and tenderness in your joints.
This is all thanks to the natural resistance of the water, which surprisingly is up to 1,000 times more powerful than air. This means that when you exercise in the pool, your body maximizes that drag effect that slowly builds your endurance and muscle strength.
#3. It is the freshest and coolest way to work out
The heat of working out can make you feel uncomfortable, especially when you have pain in different parts of your body. When doing water exercise, you beat the heat and won’t have to worry about the temperature.
No sweat – literally, because even if your body is exerting effort, you are automatically being cooled down to exercise longer.
Note that slightly heated pools are recommended when doing water exercises with a temperature of about 89°F as the ideal setting because it won’t tense up your muscles or make them stiff from the cold.
#4. It can help boost your mood
When in pain, it is easy to be short with people. This means that most of the time, you have negative vibes flowing from you. Water exercise is one effective way to remedy this because aside from helping you ease the pain, it can also manage your mood better and lower your stress levels.
Mental health plays a vital role in managing chronic pain, and being as relaxed and positive as possible can allow you to enjoy your life despite the pain.
That’s not all. Traditionally, water exercises are performed in groups. Socializing and establishing support systems can also be beneficial in handling your tension and stress.
#5. It lets you prove that you are still capable of doing physical activities
When doing water exercises, you have the power of the water to back you up, so you don’t need to exert as much effort doing the exercises as you would in the gym. In reality, there are exercises that you won’t even be able to accomplish at all that you can easily do in the water.
This brings you back to prove to yourself that despite the chronic pain, you are still capable and can still be physically active. Being aware of that can be an excellent confidence booster for your morale.
Targeted Aquatic Exercises for Different Chronic Pain Conditions
Aquatic exercises work on the same principle as traditional physical therapies and even acupuncture treatments. A particular activity or point is intended to relieve pain and help heal a specific medical condition.
Here is an overview of some sample aquatic exercises and the specific chronic pain condition that they can help address:
Walking or jogging in water is ideal for Osteoarthritis
- Balancing on a kickboard and floating is good for back pain
- An underwater treadmill can help treat sprains and spinal stenosis
- Hip kickers and lunges are great underwater exercises for arthritis
- Arm raises and one-legged balance works wonders for those suffering from fibromyalgia
Consider the healing power of aquatic exercises if you have been suffering from chronic pain and no medication seems to have worked its charm. Water can be highly therapeutic and healing for both your body and soul.
Just make sure to perform aquatic healing exercises under the guidance of experienced professionals who can give you a proper initiation into the process. This rings especially true if you have a fear of water. You must overcome hydrophobia before exploring the wonderful benefits of water in pain relief.
Many options are available today to help you manage your pain, and if you’re at it already, why not try water-based exercises and therapies? Water can make this healing process more enjoyable.
Don’t let your pain stop you from having fun and living your life to the fullest. With treatment plans like aquatic exercises, you can manage your pain and improve your quality of life while being relaxed.
Splash the pains away with these aquatic healing recommendations today!