Hydrotherapy for herniated discs is an all-natural complementary healing technique that is often used as part of a combined care approach to disc pain treatment. Hydrotherapy involves the use of water in one of several healing capacities. Hydrotherapy is sometimes also known as aquatherapy.
Water is known to provide benefits for many health issues and the use of focused physical therapy routines can also help relieve pain in many patients. When combined, physical therapy and water can create the ideal circumstances for relaxation, but does the treatment actually provide tangible benefits for herniated disc sufferers?
This essay examines the use of a range of water-based treatment techniques for various types of herniated intervertebral disc diagnoses.
Types of Hydrotherapy for Herniated Discs
Water therapy comes in several forms, virtually all of which can be offered as professional healthcare services or performed by the patient themselves as part of home-based therapy programs. Here are some of the more commonly used water therapies for herniated disc sufferers:
Physical therapy can be performed in a specially designed heated pool. This use of PT minimizes the effects of gravity, provides additional support for the patient’s body. PT in a heated pool is incredibly soothing. PT in the water is generally gentler and better tolerated than similar exercises done on dry land. A full range of exercise apparatus can be used in the pool and patients can expect to get a thorough workout despite the soothing qualities of the water being present.
Swimming is a major source of hydrotherapy. Many swimmers report excellent results for managing herniated disc pain. Swimming is a complete workout for the entire body that can be undertaken by anyone at any age. Swimming is nonimpact and gentle, despite being one of the most efficient fitness activities in the world.
Hot tubs, Jacuzzis and spa tubs can help to relax patients and decrease pain organically. Similarly, hot showers or the application of hot towels is often cited as being both relaxing and therapeutic by many back and neck pain sufferers. A minority of patients try the opposite approach, using ice cold tubs or showers to find relief.
Hydrotherapy for Herniated Discs Benefits
Water therapies have been used by cultures all over the planet for thousands of years. There is simply no way to ignore their potential benefits, since they are time-tested and generally cited as having efficacy by both doctors and patients alike. Hydrotherapy for herniated discs can provide a good workout for the body, as well as relaxation for the mind. A relaxed patient will certainly have less pain than a stressed and tense patient.
Hydrotherapy can ease muscular soreness, relax cramping and spasming muscles and facilitate a full body workout that might be impossible for some patients to achieve out of the water. Hydrotherapy is particularly effective for patients who are not in good physical condition or those with low fitness thresholds. Hydrotherapy is great for pregnant women and obese patients, as well, since it counteracts gravity and does not place inordinate stress on protruding areas of the anatomy.
Best of all, water therapy can be performed by any patient in virtually any environment, as long as they have access to a pool, tub or other therapeutic source. Many forms of hydrotherapy are therefore ideally suited for patients with limited or no health insurance coverage who still want to enjoy professional quality treatment at a budget price.
Negative Factors of Hydrotherapy for Herniated Discs
Not everything about hydrotherapy is universally positive. There are also downsides to consider, but we must admit that compared to most dangerous herniated disc therapies, even the negative aspects of care are really not that bad. Here are some considerations for patients to understand before choosing hydrotherapy to treat a herniated disc:
Hydrotherapy will do nothing at all to resolve the structural changes associated with a herniated disc. Therefore, water therapy is only symptomatic care that will never provide a cure. The benefits given to the patient will only help to relax them and sooth their pain temporarily, if at all.
Professional hydrotherapy might be expensive. Many patients bypass this expense by learning the routines from a qualified therapist and then performing these exercises on their own at their local swimming facility.
Hydrotherapy might demonstrate some degree of risk for particular patient populations. People with high blood pressure and some other health issues must be careful about how much time they spend in a well-heated pool. Additionally, some patients feel unsafe in a water environment if they are not good swimmers or if they do not know how to swim at all. This anxiety can cancel the positive effects of the therapeutic experience.