How Does Hydrotherapy Benefit in Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Those with rheumatoid arthritis benefit from exercises. Physical activity helps reduce the symptoms and makes daily activities easier.

The exercises that work best for those with rheumatoid arthritis are those that work on strength, flexibility, range of motion, and aerobic conditioning.

What is Hydrotherapy?

Hydrotherapy is aquatic therapy. It is a type of exercise that is performed in the pool. It is a low-impact exercise that takes the pressure off the joint.

It can be customized according to the level of fitness and ability and can be a good choice for those with rheumatoid arthritis.

It can be done under the supervision of a physical therapist. Exercise equipment such as a treadmill or a stationary bike can be used to exercise while in the pool.

The benefits of hydrotherapy are:

  • It improves circulation
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Treats conditions involving the musculoskeletal system
  • Eases anxiety, pain, and depression

How Does Hydrotherapy Benefit in Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that leads to inflammation and joint damage due to free radicals.

Hydrotherapy can help slow down the damage.

A study found a reduction in damage from free radicals in people with rheumatoid arthritis when hydrotherapy was given along with medication.(1) Hydrotherapy worked by improving the oxidant-antioxidant status in the participants.

A review found hydrotherapy helping in reducing rheumatoid arthritis symptoms such as pain and tenderness and also improving mood and relieving tension.(2)

Hydrotherapy enables people to get comfortable and less prone to injuries.

Exercises are beneficial for people with arthritis, but on experiencing discomfort they are more likely to skip it.

On walking through water, resistance is created that builds strength. Water supports the weight, reduces pressure on the joints, and removes the discomfort. It creates resistance. The warmth of the water also helps soothe pain and improves circulation.

Water improves aerobic fitness and also heart health.

Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis are at an increased risk of heart disease.

Exercise in Hydrotherapy

There are various types of water workouts to choose from depending on a person’s fitness level.

Water Walking

Water walking includes strength and aerobic conditioning in people with rheumatoid arthritis.

How to do water walking:

  • The person is made to stand in the swimming pool and walk forward 10-20 steps
  • Then walk back to the starting point
  • Continue this for 5 minutes

Hip Kicks

This exercise helps in increasing strength, aerobic conditioning, flexibility, and range of motion.

Following are the steps to perform hip kicks:

  • Face along the edge of the pool and hold the edge for support.
  • Raise one leg in front so that it is parallel to the edge of the pool. Bring it back to the starting position.
  • Raise the same leg to the side, lower it, and then repeat.
  • Turn around and hold the edge of the pool with the other hand and repeat the movements with the other leg.
  • Repeat it for 3 sets of 10 kicks from each leg.

Forward Lunge

Forward lunge helps people with rheumatoid arthritis by building strength, flexibility, and improving the range of motion.

How to perform:

  • Hold the pool from the edge.
  • Take a big step forward and lower the body onto the front leg, keeping the head and hand above water. Make sure the front knee is behind the toes.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Repeat the movement with the other leg.
  • Three sets of 10 lunges per leg can be done

Hydrotherapy can be more comfortable for people with rheumatoid arthritis. Hydrotherapy can be done in group classes or with the special guidance of a physical therapist in specialized settings.

Hydrotherapy can be beneficial for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis as it reduces the symptoms and overall health.

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