Health blog

7 benefits of aquatic therapy for chronic pain

June 1st, 2023

We all know how enjoyable it can be to spend a day in the pool to deal with summer heat. But the pool can do more than just offer a way to cool down and have fun with your friends. It can also have many benefits that help the body alleviate aches and pains that seem to never go away. That’s where aquatic therapy comes in.


Chronic pain can occur anywhere throughout the body, and it’s defined as pain that persists for three or more months. Reduced mobility from chronic pain can interfere with your daily routines, but there are ways you can alleviate it, including aquatic therapy.


Read on to learn the basics of aquatic therapy and the benefits it can offer for chronic pain.


What is aquatic therapy?


Aquatic therapy, also referred to as hydrotherapy or pool therapy, refers to exercises and treatments that take place in a body of water. Sessions are usually held in a heated therapy pool. It combines hands-on techniques by a physical therapist as well as body movements that you perform yourself.


By unloading your body weight, pool therapy allows you to improve the mobility and quality of the body parts where your chronic pain is located because you’re removing the stress on your joints. 


Aquatic therapy can help with chronic pain caused by a variety of injuries and conditions including:


  • Arthritis.
  • Shoulder pain.
  • Lower back pain.
  • Hip pain.
  • Knee pain.
  • Ankle pain.
  • Post-surgery rehabilitation.
  • Injury rehabilitation.


7 benefits of aquatic therapy for chronic pain


If the idea of spending time in a heated pool during a therapy session isn’t enough of a reason, there are plenty of pool therapy benefits that you should consider if you’re living with chronic pain.


Here are seven benefits of hydrotherapy for chronic pain treatment: 

  • Increased muscle strengthening — The exercises that can strengthen your muscles in the water will help to decrease the painful pressure placed on your joints once you’re out of the water. The gentle resistance from the water during exercises can help strengthen your leg, pelvic and torso muscles.

  • Improved joint flexibility — The buoyancy from the reduced gravity that you have while in the water can increase the range of motion of your joints. By improving your joint mobility, you can reduce the risk of future injury and decrease inflammation that may contribute to your chronic pain. 

  • Decreased swelling — A lot of chronic pain can cause swelling, and compression is one of the best treatment options for decreasing swollen areas of the body. The water provides compression to the joints to reduce the potential swelling and inflammation that could be causing your chronic pain.

  • No equipment — Sometimes your body is the only equipment you need! Nearly every aquatic exercise and technique is done through movements on your own or with the assistance of the physical therapist. That means that no equipment is required and decreases the difficulty level that may be present in other types of therapy.

  • All fitness levels welcome — People of any age can experience chronic pain, so their therapy should be helpful for any age as well. Since the buoyancy in the water decreases the amount of strain placed on your joints and muscles during exercises, it’s a very accessible type of therapy that can benefit people at any fitness level. It increases your ability to successfully complete exercises that you normally wouldn’t be able to do on land.

  • Relaxation — Many people find relaxation while floating around a pool. It can reduce the stress not only on your body, but also on your mind. By reducing the stress of daily life and everyday problems, you can focus solely on alleviating your pain through the exercises. 

  • Soothed muscles — The warm water can help soothe your tight muscles by increasing blood circulation in the areas where you’re experiencing pain. By relaxing the tight tissue surrounding the muscles, some of the tension that’s contributing to your chronic pain can be released.


Rehab Access can show you how aquatic therapy can benefit chronic pain


Many people don’t realize that pools can be just as therapeutic as they are fun. 


If you’re living with chronic pain, but you’re tired of it interfering with your day-to-day life, then aquatic therapy may be the treatment option you’re looking for. From increased strength and flexibility to soothing your muscles, the benefits of pool therapy speak for themselves.


When you’re ready to see how aquatic therapy can benefit your chronic pain, contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.