The Benefits of Water Therapy for Chronic Pain
Natural pain relief for long term sufferers
The events of 2020 have had a devastating affect on the UK’s health in many ways, not least for the estimated 28 million adults who suffer from long term chronic pain. The reduced access to regular treatments and therapies may have exacerbated the problem, with additional consequences for their quality of life, mental health, jobs, families, and routine daily activities.
Chronic pain is defined by the NHS as any condition that persists for 3 months or more despite ongoing medication or treatments and at the last count around 5 million GP appointments per year were for patients with back, knee, hip or other pain.
The instinct with many sufferers is to reach for the painkillers, whether they’re over the counter brands or those prescribed by their GP. But while these may provide short term relief, there is lots of recent evidence to prove that staying active can be just as effective, especially as an aid to the long term or even permanent relief from your condition. It wasn’t all that long ago that the “go to” treatment for back pain sufferers was complete bed rest – thank goodness those days are long gone!
Water therapy to treat chronic pain
The concept of using water to improve your physical health is nothing new: there are records dating back as far as the Ancient Egyptians that show them using water and hydrotherapies in everyday life. Yet water therapy often isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when considering alternative and non-invasive pain remedies.
Humans are not naturally designed to be in water. As soon as we enter a pool or the sea we immediately feel as though we’re in an alien environment, with our mobility limited by the water’s density and mass. But its these very qualities of water that provide the means to target specific joints and muscles for rehabilitation.
What can AquaStretch do for chronic pain?
AquaStretch can be particularly effective for the relief of chronic pain since – with the right sequence of movements and support from an expert therapist – it works on several levels at once:
Heat: As well as promoting feelings of calm and relaxation, warm water stimulates the thermo-receptor nerves throughout your body which relaxes your muscle tissue
Buoyancy: Immersing your body in water and allowing yourself to float as it supports your weight reduces the pressure on your joints which allows you to move more freely
Resistance: The friction on your body caused by the constant resistance from the water while you are immersed acts as a stabiliser as well as helping to tone your injured or stressed muscles. You’ll find that it also gives you more confidence to move your joints in ways that just aren’t normally possible for you
Many people who suffer from chronic pain often find that it’s easier to exercise in water than on dry land. This is understandable since water helps to increase blood supply to your sore muscles and joints, plus the feel of the water is also comforting, which helps take your mind off your pain.
The slow and easy movements provided during an AquaStretch session with me eases your body’s tensions, allowing you to slowly regain your strength and energy and get relief from your pain.
Above all the partial relief from gravity – the most relentless of all physical stresses – provided by the water means that any movements you make will feel easy, safe and supported. Which is a crucial element in your mental and physical rehabilitation from chronic pain.