Arthritis therapies. What Therapies can help?.
Therapy is a great alternative treatment for Arthritis that can help to cope with symptoms and keep the body moving. There are many different types of therapies, and here at Ankspon, we’ve tried the three most common, each coming with different benefits and referral programmes. Hydrotherapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy are the best known, and people react differently to each, but it’s important to understand what they involve and the best step for you.
Why is water so great?
First and foremost is the buoyancy that comes with water. This helps to support your weight whilst maintain control of your movements. This alone enables you to improve your balance and strength. Buoyancy also provides the ability to adopt a larger range of positions, particularly if there is lifting of the legs involved.
The second great benefit is the natural resistance that water provides. This means of you can strengthen and condition arthritis affected areas, while removing risks of a loss of balance or increased pain.
Finally, hydrostatic pressure produced during Hydrotherapy aids muscle blood flow and is even said to improve heart and lung function, making aquatic exercise a very useful way to maintain and strengthen these aspects of the body.
All in all, these benefits provide a platform to develop an exercise regime that reduces the weight placed on the spine and the risk of injury due to inadvertent movements.
How do I get Hydrotherapy?
You will first need to be referred by your GP to a specialist, who will in turn refer you for a hydrotherapy assessment and session. You can also link up with charities to find out more about help groups in your local area, where they may also have access to hydrotherapy for a small cost. Check out our forums and charities page to find out more.
What can you expect in the pool?
Many of the techniques used in the pool include pool walking, standing or floating exercises, specific swimming techniques and conditioning with specialist equipment such as floats or resistance devices. The video below produced by Central Health Physiotherapy explain more:
What typical help and advice do they provide?
There are several ways you can manage your arthritis. According to Arthritis Research UK, the most common are:
- advice on using your joints without straining them
- splints to support your joints while working or resting
- recommendations on gadgets and equipment to help you with tasks at home and work
- exercises to improve hand and wrist movements and grip
- advice on planning and balancing daily activities with rest to reduce tiredness (fatigue)
- help and advice on driving and mobility problems
- relaxation techniques
- help and advice on coping physically and emotionally with the changes your condition may bring.
There are various ways to be referred to an occupational therapist and it’s always best to start by speaking to your GP.
Specialist physios can provide advice and education on exercise, pain relief and ways to manage your condition. The main aim being to teach you how to improve joint movement and strengthen your muscles to keep you moving. There is often cross over with Hydrotherapy and Physios can experiment with what works best for your needs.