Consider trying aquatic interventions to calm fibromyalgia pain, induce relaxation and improve sleep.
Aquatic physiotherapy can help fibromyalgia patients reduce pain and improve their strength and endurance. False images
If you suffer from pain, stress or insomnia as a result of fibromyalgia, you can get relief by exploring a water-centered approach: in hot springs, in the therapy center or even in your own home. It can be as simple as pouring Epsom salts into your bathtub and taking a relaxing bath, doing gentle range of motion exercises after a warm bath or shower, or participating in something more structured: sessions with a specially trained therapist.
Mineral baths, thalassotherapy (which involves the use of sea water), balneotherapy (bathing in thermal or thermal waters) and hot tubs stimulate relaxation, which can temporarily relieve pain, says Eileen Schweers Ray, physiotherapist and spokesperson for the American Physical. Academy of Aquatic Physical Therapy of the Therapy Association in Charlotte, North Carolina. “Along with the use of water to heat or cool the treated areas, some of these treatments involve the application of algae, mud, salt or other minerals to achieve the desired effects.”
The benefits of moving in the water
While simply immersing yourself passively in water has therapeutic value, exercising in water provides additional rewards. Marcy O’Koon, senior director of consumer health at the Arthritis Foundation in Atlanta, notes that water exercise is perfect for both cardiovascular and strengthening exercises. “Exercise, in general, provides a number of benefits for people with fibromyalgia, including pain reduction, increased energy and better sleep,” says O’Koon, “but the advantage of exercising in water versus on earth is that the buoyancy of the water supports the joints and the body in general, eliminating the impact of earthly movements. ”
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Ray explains that aquatic exercise and aquatic physiotherapy depend on the properties of water (buoyancy, flow and drag) to improve movement or provide resistance. “Both interventions make use of a beneficial property of what is known as hydrostatic pressure, a compression force applied to the body by water. It helps decrease blood accumulation and edema (swelling) in the extremities and increases circulation. The thermal effects of warm water are also effective in increasing blood flow, promoting relaxation and decreasing stiffness. ” Hydrostatic pressure, he says, helps reduce and prevent swelling of the extremities, while buoyancy decreases weight on painful joints. “And water decreases the force of gravity in the body, so that a person can recover from the loss of balance without suffering an injury from a fall. This allows them to try more challenging activities like running and jumping. ”
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The difference between aquatic physiotherapy and aquatic exercise
Water exercise, says Ray, refers to any activity based on movement that is performed in the water, such as water aerobics, lap swimming or group exercise classes. “For example, the Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program is designed for people with arthritis and related conditions, but anyone with joint pain and stiffness can benefit from it. It is administered by the Aquatic Exercise Association , and classes are taught in community pools and aquatic centers, ”explains Ray.
Aquatic physiotherapy, on the other hand, he says, is more specialized and is performed by a licensed physiotherapist after an individualized evaluation. Among the benefits it describes for fibromyalgia patients, validated by research, are decreased pain, increased range of motion and improved strength, endurance and physical performance. “Specific objectives are set for each patient, with a plan to progress to functional activities on land,” says Ray.
Among the various types of aquatic physiotherapy, Ray’s notes are Bad Ragaz , Watsu , Halliwick , AquaStretch and Ai Chi . Regardless of the type, he adds, the incorporation of the movement into the intervention is essential. “The therapist can apply the movement to help stretch or release the affected tissues, or the patient can perform it in the form of exercises to stretch and strengthen the body and activities to perform functional tasks.” An equally essential component, she says, is patient education. You will gain knowledge, he adds, about his diagnosis and his vision of his unique experience.
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Water can also lift your mood
People generally observe a decrease in pain and stiffness after water therapy, adds Lori Thein Brody, PT, PhD , senior clinical specialist at UW Health Clinics in Madison, Wisconsin. “People feel emotionally better, often because these exercises often occur in groups and experience the social support of an instructor and other group participants who are experiencing similar symptoms. Fibromyalgia tends to be an ‘invisible’ disease since there are few external indicators of the impediments experienced by these individuals. Therefore, they can isolate themselves socially and feel that others do not understand their symptoms. ” The group environment, he says, provides some validation.
According to Dr. Brody, most people enjoy water exercise more than land exercise due to water heat and buoyancy. “It is much easier to move joints and muscles that are sore or stiff in the water than against gravity on land. Often people cannot assume the positions or postures necessary to exercise some parts of the body on land, but they can do so in the pool due to buoyancy. ” But science also confirms the benefits. There are a number of studies , most of the time involving women because they are disproportionately affected by the condition, “which demonstrate an improvement in function , pain , stiffness and mental health. after water exercise for people with fibromyalgia, ”says Brody.
Find the right water therapist
If you want to explore aquatic physiotherapy, be sure to find a licensed physical therapist and, says Brody, one who “understands the key problems in chronic pain: central sensitization and how exercise, in some people, can increase pain. More is not always better. And they must have a good understanding of the physical properties of water and the physiological response to immersion. ”
Find a therapist in your area on the Advance page of the APTA website and filter for aquatic physiotherapy, Ray suggests. According to Brody, you can also call local clinics to see if they have a specialist in aquatic physiotherapy. And, Ray advises, check with your doctor, because in cases of medical necessity, water therapy may be covered by your health insurance.
REFRENCE: – Everydayhealth