What is Hydrotherapy?Most experts agree that hydrotherapy should not be the only type of treatment in case of arthritis. This method should not replace allopathic treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, especially when the disease is in its early stages. During these stages most the joints and bones suffer from most damage and that is why hydrotherapy should be used along with allopathic therapy.
Hydrotherapy is one of the available methods for relieving pain and discomfort in a person who is diagnosed with arthritis. This method consists of a person placing the hurting part or the entire body into water in order to enhance the range of motion and get rid of the pain at the same time. A trained therapist is almost always present to guide the patient through the process. Taking a bath in heated water, mineral baths and water-jet massages are only some of the examples of hydrotherapy. However, it is thought that arthritis patients benefit the most from aquatic exercise.The experts claim that even the ancient Greeks and Romans used hydrotherapy in order to treat various kinds of medical conditions. One of the conditions that were treated was pain that the experts believe to be arthritis. Hydrotherapy is a treatment used in Israel and all over Europe for centuries.
In the United States several forms of this type of treatment are used in conventional medicine. Whirlpool baths for athletic injuries and ice for sprains are only two of the most often used forms. Situation where hydrotherapy is used alone is not seen that often and the treatment is usually combined with some other types of treatment like exercise, massage, herbs, mud packs and even a special diet. The goal is for the circulation to improve and for the feelings of relaxation and well-being to become stronger as well.Is Hydrotherapy Helpful with Arthritis
A majority of those diagnosed with arthritis can benefit a lot from hydrotherapy. During the treatment, the patient is in water or at least the hurting part is. The method consists of either soaking the affected part of the body or exercising. Due to the fact that not all arthritic conditions affect the same body part, there is more than one exercise the patient can perform. The movements which are appropriate for the patient will be instructed by a hydrotherapist. Swelling of the joints is a usually seen condition in arthritis patients and one of the goals of hydrotherapy is to reduce that swelling. The records show that this method is extremely effective in reducing swelling. Warm water plays a vital role as the warmth decreases swelling and enhances the mobility of the joints by affecting the soft tissues. Another reason why hydrotherapy is good in treating the symptoms of arthritis is because the joints are not under such pressure under water and there are fewer loads for them to bear. Blood flow is increased as well due to the warm water. Because of that, the affected body parts will receive more blood rich in oxygen. Warm water affects the muscles as well in a soothing way and tension is released. Inflammation and pain will no longer be felt as often if the muscles are more relaxed.Hydrotherapy is not beneficial only for patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and those diagnosed with osteoarthritis can benefit from it as well. Numerous studies confirmed that strength training and aerobic exercises provide excellent results in osteoarthritis patients. Performing these exercises in water is considered to be even better because there is not so much stress on the knees.
A proper diagnosis is essential before a treatment plan for arthritis can be made. There are those who suffer from some other health condition apart from arthritis and should avoid hydrotherapy. Some of these other conditions include heart disease, lung disease, a circulation disorder, Raynaud’s disease and chilblains, among other things. Apart from these people, pregnant women and those with medical devices implanted in them like pacemakers or pumps need to stay away from hydrotherapy. Someone who has problems with perceiving the temperature of water because of neuropathy or nerve damage should seek some other treatment plan for arthritis.