Chronic Pain is persistent pain from any condition such as Arthritis, Back Pain, Fibromyalgia, and injury, for example. People in pain tend to avoid physical activity but this may create an unfortunate downward spiral of loss of range of motion, weakness, loss of function, emotional stress and muscle guarding leading to more pain. Because of neuroplasticity, changes can occur in the nervous system that perpetuate this pain cycle
But we can tap into the healing potential of neuroplasticity, change perception, and decrease pain. Thermoneutral (92-96˚F) water is an inherently therapeutic medium. It provides an enjoyable sensory experience and has a profound affect on the nervous system and therefore physiology. The parasympathetic nervous system effects are enhanced
- Decreased heart rate
- Decreased rate of respiration
- Increased depth of respiration
- Increased peripheral vasodilation/circulation
- Increased smooth muscle activity
- Decreased activation of skeletal muscles
- Decreased spasticity
- Decreased muscle spasm
- Enhanced immune system response
- Improved digestion
- Improved sleep pattern
- Decreased anxiety
while the sympathetic nervous system is inhibited.
Numerous studies of fibromyalgia patients have demonstrated reduction in pain, improvement in sleep patterns, fibromyalgia impact, mood state disorders, and when compared with land-based exercise programs, the aquatic groups typically showed faster and larger gains, with longer post-study improvements. –Bruce Becker, MD
- Motor Vehicle Accident with Injury: usually involving multiple areas of trauma
- Weight-bearing restrictions or obesity limiting ability to participate in land-based activity and exercise
- Post surgery with weight bearing restrictions and loss of mobility
- Musculoskeletal Problems: injury or dysfunction with pain, weakness, loss of range of motion, muscle spasm.
- Neurological Disorders where immobility/ spasticity is a factor: Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, Stroke, Spinal cord or Brain Injury, Post-Polio for example.
- Balance problems
- Advanced age/Debility
- Complex Conditions with combinations of any of the above