Chronic pain is defined as recurring pain of any kind, persisting for a period longer than three months. This might be due to injuries, disease, or stress on the body. The nature of the pain will also vary based on the cause.
Hydrotherapy can be used to manage chronic pain. Its effectiveness is based on the properties inherent to water.
Heat is one of the primary tools. Increased heat promotes the stimulation of nerves in the body. This causes blood circulation to increase as the body relaxes. Other fluids also move more freely. Soft tissue relaxation also produces a calming effect in one’s mood.
Water resistance also provides a benefit. The gentle resistance varies based on how fast someone is moving. This is useful if you need to create muscle tone and build strength due to the body no longer being in its normal condition, such as after surgery or an injury.
Water also acts as a stabiliser. People feel more confident because they have a reduced risk of damage or pain while in the pool.
Finally, the buoyancy is useful because it causes the body to float. This reduces the pressure on the joints, alleviating any associated pain. There is also greater freedom of movement, due to the reduction in the weight that the skeleton and muscles must move.
By adjusting the depth of the water, the effect of the buoyancy can also be adjusted. This allows the therapist to ease the patient closer and closer to moving onto land. For many injuries or conditions, this is important to prevent another injury.