Arthritis is an illness that causes inflammation in one or more joints, which leads to pain and stiffness along with swelling and decreased range of motion that gets worse with age. The most common forms are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage — the hard, slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones where they form a joint — to break down. It involves wear-tear damage that can result in bone grinding on bone, which leads to pain and restricted movement. It can be caused over years of wear and tear or by a joint injury or infection. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that first targets the lining of joints known as synovium, causing the lining to become inflamed, eventually destroying the cartilage and bone in the joint.
So how can hydrotherapy help? Heat from the warm water stimulates the blood flow to stiff muscles and joints to help reduce inflammation, swelling and pain. The water’s buoyancy inside the tub helps to take the pressure off joints and offers support to make it easier to move and flex the joints. Massage jets loosens tight muscles and helps soothe the discomfort.
For patients with osteoarthritis (OA) in their knees, the water’s buoyancy makes it much easier for them to undertake strength training exercises because it’s virtually impact free and allows for more flexible joint movement.