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La Plata Physical Therapy, Inc.
Aquatic Therapy and Fibromyalgia
La Plata Physical Therapy, Inc.
. http://www.laplatapt.com/

Aquatic Therapy and Fibromyalgia

While chronic pain can make exercise seem like a daunting and impossible task, aquatic therapy can make it possible while providing many benefits for overall health and well-being.

The American College of Rheumatology defines Fibromyalgia with specific factors

  • widespread pain (pain on both the left and right sides of the body, and above and below the waist and axial region) lasting longer than 3 months
  • pain in 11 out of 18 specific tender points on the body

A diagnosis of Fibromyalgia is more common now, but there is still no present single treatment to cure for it. Although aquatic therapy is not an appropriate setting for every case, it does provide an environment to exercise with less pain for those who are seen fit for aquatic therapy by a doctor and/or therapist.

The benefits of exercise for someone with Fibromyalgia include decreased pain, improved flexibility, improved strength, increased energy levels, better sleep, improved cardiovascular fitness and improved self-esteem. Overall, aquatic therapy can lead to an improved feeling of well-being. Aquatic therapy allows a person with Fibromyalgia to experience these listed benefits of exercise where a non-aquatic exercise setting may be restricted by pain. The buoyancy of the water provides an upward thrust acting in the opposite direction of gravity, giving a “weightless” feeling. Another added bonus is the use of warm water in aquatic therapy helps to relax muscles and decrease pain.

Aquatic therapy is not limited to swimming. Fibromyalgia patients of all water skill levels can benefit from aquatic exercise. There is no specific routine to follow for a person with Fibromyalgia and each aquatic therapy program should be unique for the individual’s needs. For instance, an aquatic therapy program for a person with Fibromyalgia should include range of motion, flexibility, strengthening, and aerobic exercise catered to the needs and abilities of the individual. The low-impact setting of aquatic therapy allows for aerobic conditioning without the stresses of gravity on muscles and joints and often allows a person with Fibromyalgia to be most active with less pain.

Although aquatic therapy is not a cure, it is shown to be an effective in managing Fibromyalgia pain. Under supervision following an individualized program, someone suffering from Fibromyalgia can control pain and improve their overall well-being and health.

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