June 2018: Aquatics & Juvenile Arthritis



Content courtesy of the National Swimming Pool Foundation

Aquatic therapy has long been under investigation as a potential treatment for use with the arthritic patient. For generations, the only research being done in the aquatics field was for the osteoarthris and rheumatoid arthritis populations. Immersion in warm water has been a panacea for the ages. There is nothing like it. With immersion comes weightlessness – and this loss of weight can actually be manipulated to allow for partial joint compression. The viscosity of the water creates an environment where resistance can be created at the blink of an eye. Movement creates resistance and cessation of movement removes all resistance. In the water, it is possible to move in all 3 planes of motion without setting up elaborate workout regimes and the workouts created by water are predominantly concentric (meaning less delayed onset muscle soreness) and safe to perform. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis presents a host of potential complaints for which immersed exercise is the answer. There is little stress on joints, like there is with weight based resistance. The potential for falls or negative consequences of loss of balance episodes are almost nil, allowing stair climbing, gait training and proprioceptive drills. Truly, there is not another medium akin to immersion for this patient population.  


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