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Aquatic Therapy

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Joined: Jul 07 2008
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    Posted: Apr 08 2013 at 10:08am

Our user asked: "Hello! Before I ask my question, I would like to provide a little bit of background information about myself. I am a 29 year old female and former multi-sport athlete. I stopped competing after I graduated college in 2006 and have basically been inactive since then. Career and laziness caught up with me! I am currently about 40 pounds overweight, which I am extremely ashamed to admit. Anyway, I have been dealing with pain in my knees since I was 14 years old. I've seen many orthopedic surgeons who have treated the pain with cortisone injections and physical therapy, but I have yet to feel any relief. At around the age of 23-24, I developed pain in my shoulders. I saw another orthopedic surgeon for this pain and was also treated with cortisone and physical therapy. In both cases, the pain persisted and the doctors suggested exploratory surgery as the next option, which I declined each time. For the past few years, I have also noticed stiffness in my ankles anytime I sit down for ten or more minutes and try to get up to walk. At the age of 29, I feel like a 70+ year old person who is falling apart a little bit at a time! I am very aware that exercise is the best course of action for someone suffering from joint pain, but the increase in pain after any kind of exercise never makes it feel like it's worth it. I have read that aquatic therapy is great for someone with joint pain, but my access to pools is very limited living in the area of Pittsburgh, PA where the weather is so unpredictable for most of the year. I also cannot afford any kind of long-term physical therapy treatment due to the co-pays associated with my insurance plan. With all of this in mind, I am now ready to ask my question, though it might sound very strange. In my master bedroom, I have a bathtub with built-in jets. Is there any way to turn this bathtub into a makeshift aqua therapy pool? I am willing to try anything outside the box at this point, especially considering that I have suffered with this pain for more than half of my life. If it helps to know, the pain in my knees makes it hard to fall asleep at night, and I wake up every morning with pain and stiffness in both of my shoulders. I am just getting to the point where I don't want to continue to live with this pain every single day of my life. Any kind of guidance you can provide would be extremely appreciated! Thank you so much for your help!"

Ask a PT Response: "Sorry to hear about your condition. The reasons that individuals exercise in a pool are because of itsbuoyant and resistive properties. Here is an informative article: http://www.cyberpt.com/aquaticpt.asp . Your bathtub would simply not be deep or large enough to achieve the desired effects with exercise. Perhaps you can see if you get a gym membership at a facility which has a pool. There is alot of competition for gym memberships, so call around and see what wil work best for you. I wish you the best."
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