The Power of Water
Aquatic therapy is a powerful tool that can help people with many conditions. Here we will discuss how it can help patients with Fibromyalgia:
- Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) affects females more than males, is characterized by pain, fatigue and stiffness of muscles and soft tissues. Patients see Rheumatologists.
- Goals in the treatment of FMS include pain management, restoration of sleep patterns and increasing functional activity levels. Exercise is one of the most effective interventions for long term management of FMS. An exercise program should include low-load stretching and a low-impact aerobic component.
- Due to the unique properties associated with immersion, aquatic therapy is recommended for the treatment of FMS. Benefits are:
- Buoyant support of water that dramatically decreases compression stress on joints, allowing for improved flexibility with greater ease of movement, especially in concert with increased hydrostatic pressure and reduced gravitational pull. Active, passive and assistive stretching through a greater range of motion are all possible in the supportive aquatic environment.
- Cedrashi, et al. was able to demonstrate significant improvements in quality of life and function following a six-week program that included pool exercise and education.
- Altan, et al. demonstrated improved quality of life and decreased pain with a 12-week pool based exercise
- program, the effects of which lasted up to 24 weeks.
- Jentoft, et al demonstrated improved cardiovascular capacity, walking time and well-being, and decreased daytime fatigue, pain, anxiety and depression following a 20-week pool program. The pool group showed more significant improvements in more variables than did the land-based group.
- Mannerkorp, et al., found that six months of aqua therapy combined with education improved quality of life, physical function, pain severity and psychological distress
- The Key is the combination of aqua therapy and education delivered in a clinical setting.
- Follow up studies by Mannerkorp, et al, fond that these improvements in symptom severity, physical function and social function lasted for up to 24 months following the completion of the six-month program.