2/11/02 - Aquatic Therapy: Physical Therapy That Really Makes A Splash

Many people go to the gym for physical therapy, but what about going to the pool to get better?  It's called aquatic therapy, and the patients at Missouri Delta Medical Center in Sikeston are ready to dive right in.

Sally Neel is one of those patients. She says, "It just gets the muscle tone and the strength back so much faster."  For Neel, aquatic therapy's really making a splash. She's doing it for a hip replacement surgery she had in late December.  She needs exercise, but outside the water it's just too hard because of her injury.  Her physical therapist, Tracy Davied says, "The pool enables her to do activities she could not do at this time, and it speeds the process of her getting well and getting on with life."

It's a process that Neel's familiar with. This was her second hip replacement surgery, her first was 11 years ago. But she says she's having an easier time getting back on her feet this time around, thanks to aquatic therapy. She says, "It's easier to move about in the water because it doesn't put stress on the new joint itself. It makes it easier on the muscles that are still not working well." "The buoyancy of the water allows decreased weight baring through the joints and it makes it easier for her to do the things she needs to do,

Most of the patients who come to the pool are just like Neel. They come two times a week, and stay in the pool for about 45 minutes, and then go to the gym for 45 minutes. It takes them about six to eight weeks of physical therapy for them to reach their goal. Davied says, "She needs to walk without a device, that's what she did before, and of course she wants to get back to that. She needs to be independent with shopping and going back out in the community again, the things she did bef

Neel's therapy isn't over when her aquatic therapy ends. She has a list of exercises she does at home to help her get better.