Lannucci (2012) Making waves with Aquatic Therapy | PT in Motion Article

Lannucci (2012) Making waves with Aquatic Therapy | PT in Motion Article

Sarah Killian, PT, MSPT, ATRIC, recalls a recent patient. He was a male in his 60s diagnosed with a massive rotator cuff tear. He was experiencing a high level of pain and was unable to lift his arm. His physician anticipated that the patient would have to undergo surgery. Aquatic therapy was incorporated into his physical therapy plan of care, allowing the patient to perform exercises that would have been impossible on land.


Ultimately, the patient was able to avoid rotator cuff surgery. That, Killian says, helps demonstrate the added dimension that aquatic therapy can add to physical therapy interventions. Killian is a physical therapist (PT) with Hospital for Special Surgery Sports Rehab and Performance Center in New York

A growing number of PTs are turning to aquatic physical therapy to treat patients with myriad health conditions. Water therapy has been shown to help joint pain and stiffness, muscle spasms, back pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibro-myalgia, lymphedema, systemic lupus erythematosus and much more, the PTs interviewed for this article say. )See “Research Supports Aquatic Interventions”)

“Over the last 20 years, a substantial body of evidence 1p-s accumulated to support the use of aquatic therapy for children and adults with musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, and cardio-pulmonary disorders,” says Yasser Salem PT, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at University of North Texas Health Science Center. “Also, adults who have had strokes, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson disease can benefit from aquatic therapy to improve balance, strength, walking, functional abilities, and their ability to perform activities of daily living.” Making waves with Aquatic Therapy

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