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Five Things to Know About Aquatic Therapy at LVHN Rehabilitation

You’ve had an injury and it just hurts too much for the usual rehabilitation process. LVHN has a way for you to begin healing without too much stress on your injury.

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You’ve had an injury and it just hurts too much for the usual rehabilitation process. LVHN has a way for you to begin healing without too much stress on your injury.

Some injuries and conditions can make traditional physical therapy painful for a patient. Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) offers an alternative that allows you to begin healing in an environment that is gentle on the body – aquatic therapy. For people with certain musculoskeletal issues and spinal problems, aquatic therapy allows you to undergo treatment with much less stress on an injured area of the body.

Here are five things you should know about aquatic therapy courtesy of physical therapist Florence Corcoran, Outpatient Rehabilitation Manager at LVHN Rehabilitation Services–Hecktown Oaks.

Who is eligible to receive aquatic therapy?

Corcoran: Generally speaking, aquatic therapy is beneficial for people who have weight-bearing restrictions, arthritis, certain fractures or muscle issues and even chronic pain. But aquatic therapy can be utilized to help many other conditions as well, for example someone who has difficulty with gait and balance or for an athlete with post-operative limitations.

It’s not for everybody though. People with open wounds and some skin conditions, certain cardiac conditions and incontinence are not appropriate for aquatic therapy. Also, uncontrolled diabetes and high blood pressure can be problematic. You will meet with an evaluating therapist who can determine your eligibility for water therapy.

What are the benefits of aquatic therapy?

The unique properties of water help people regain function and mobility in a very different way than traditional therapy.

Corcoran: The water is warm – about 90 degrees- which promotes muscle relaxation for painful conditions. It supports your weight, so it becomes easier to hold yourself up and focus on the exercises without pain. If you are in chest deep water, for example, you only weigh about a quarter of your body weight. The hydrostatic pressure of water decreases swelling and supports joints. Additionally, water naturally provides much greater resistance than air which assists in building strength. All of these unique properties help people regain function and mobility in a very different way than traditional therapy.

What can a patient expect during an appointment?

Corcoran: A patient will enter our 11-foot by 15-foot pool monitored by a therapist for what is typically a 45-minute session. Some patients may use an underwater treadmill, some may use flotation devices and still others may use resistance equipment. It all just depends on what the person is being treated for.

Regardless of the approach, we’re looking to decrease pain, improve muscle strength and endurance and even to improve a person’s balance. For some, it’s about correcting their walking patterns, which an injury is precluding them from doing on land.

Generally, an aquatic therapy treatment program lasts about four to six weeks depending upon the person and their injury. The goal is to eventually move the therapy to land since that is where we live life.

What are the next steps for people who are interested in aquatic therapy?

Corcoran: Primarily, our aquatic therapy patients are referred to us by their specialists or primary care physicians. Additionally, when we do our own assessment of a patient’s physical therapy needs, we may recommend aquatic therapy. I’d suggest speaking to your specialist or primary care physician to see if aquatic therapy is right for you. We are always here to provide more information as needed.

Where does LVHN provide aquatic therapy?

Currently, LVHN Rehabilitation offers aquatic therapy at six locations:

Rehabilitation Services–Hecktown Oaks
3794 Hecktown Road
Suite 120
Easton, PA 18045

LVHN Rehabilitation Center–Schuylkill
300 Schuylkill Medical Plaza
Pottsville, PA 17901

Rehabilitation Services–Cetronia Road
250 Cetronia Road
Suite 210/Suite 220 (Hand therapy suite)
Allentown, PA 18104

Rehabilitation Services–Tobyhanna
100 Community Drive
Suite 105
Tobyhanna, PA 18466

Rehabilitation Services–Health & Wellness Center
50 Moisey Drive
Hazleton, PA 18202

Rehabilitation Services–1243 Cedar Crest
1243 S. Cedar Crest Blvd.
Suite 102
Allentown, PA 18103

Aquatic Therapy

LVHN rehabilitation specialists help your body recover gently with a unique treatment plan that’s tailored to your personal goals.

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