Questions & Answers
What is Aquatic Physical Therapy?
Answer: Aquatic Physical Therapy is the practice of physical therapy by a trained and licensed Physical Therapist or Physical Therapist Assistant within the environment of a water filled pool. An exercise program designed to improve specific aspects of a patient’s functional abilities through the use of a pool environment. The exercises are designed, instructed and supervised by a Physical Therapist Assistant.
How does Aquatic Physical Therapy differ from Aquatic Exercise?
Answer: Aquatic Physical Therapy
- Designed for a specific patient and diagnosis
- Designed to progress toward specific functional goals
- Includes an individualized program
- Requires a Physician’s order
- Reimbursable by most insurers
- Designed as general conditioning for individuals with limited mobility
- Designed to maintain or improve general conditioning
- Large group setting
- Does not require a Physician’s order
- NOT reimbursable thru most insurers
How Does Aquatic Physical Therapy Work?
Answer: Buoyancy and Relative Density: Archimedes Principle - the ration of the weight of an object to the weight of an equal volume of water. Buoyancy can be assistive, resistive and supportive. Hydrostatic Pressure: Pascal’s Law - .43 psi per foot of depth. Resistance: Can be in any direction or plane of motion, can be varied by velocity and frontal area, can be gravity assisted or resisted, and can be buoyancy assisted or resisted. Specific Heat of Water: Rate of heat loss or gain: cooler water allows body heat to be dissipated and warmer water allows for body heat to increase. Ideal temperatures for Aquatic Physical Therapy: Rehabilitation is 87-92ºF, Conditioning is 85-90ºF, and Training is 82-84ºF.
What are the Benefits of Aquatic Physical Therapy?
Answer: Aquatic Physical Therapy decreases pain, decreases muscle spasm and promotes relaxation, decreases joint compression forces/impact and allows limited/early weight bearing, ease of joint mobility and range of motion, and an increase muscle strength and endurance.
Who Will Benefit from Aquatic Physical Therapy?
Answer: Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Edema, compression and fracture, chronic pain, post mastectomy, stroke, spinal cord and head injury, prenatal patients, orthopedic, severely weak, Obese, OB/GYN, neurological, trauma, industrial injury and sports injury patients.
HOW CAN OUR STAFF HELP YOU?
Physical Therapists (PTs) provide services that help restore function, improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities of patients suffering from injuries or disease. They restore, maintain, and promote overall fitness and health. Their patients include accident victims and individuals with disabling conditions such as low back pain, arthritis, heart disease, fractures, head injuries and Cerebral Palsy.
Physical Therapists examine patient’s medical histories and then test and measure the patient’s strength, range of motion, balance and coordination, posture, muscle performance, respiration, and motor function. They also determine the patient’s ability to be independent and reintegrate into the community or workplace after injury or illness. Next, Physical Therapists develop a plan of care, its purpose, and its anticipated outcome. Physical Therapist Assistants, under the direction and supervision of a Physical Therapist, may be involved in implementing the plan of care with the patient. Physical Therapy Technicians perform routine support tasks, as directed by the Physical Therapist.
Treatment often includes exercise for patients who have been immobilized and lack flexibility, strength, or endurance. Physical Therapists encourage patients to use their own muscles to increase their flexibility and range of motion before finally advancing to other exercises that improve strength, balance, coordination and endurance. The goal is to improve how an individual functions at work and at home.
Physical Therapists also use electrical stimulation, hot packs or cold compresses, and ultrasound to relieve pain and reduce swelling. They may also use traction or deep-tissue massage to relieve pain. Therapists also teach patients to use assistive and adaptive devices, such as crutches, prostheses, and wheelchairs. They also may show patients exercises to do at home to expedite their recovery.
As treatment continues, Physical Therapists document the patient’s progress, conduct periodic examinations, and modify treatments when necessary. Besides tracking the patient’s progress, such documentation identifies areas requiring more or less attention.
Physical Therapists often consult and practice with a variety of other professionals, such as Physicians, Dentists, Nurses, Educators, Social Workers, Occupational Therapists, Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists.
Physical Therapist Assistants
Physical Therapist Assistants (PTA’s) perform components of physical therapy procedures and related tasks selected by a supervising Physical Therapist. These workers assist Physical Therapists in providing services that help improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities of patients suffering from injuries or disease.
Physical Therapist Assistants perform a variety of tasks. Components of treatment procedures performed by these workers, under the direction and supervision of Physical Therapists, involve exercises, massages, electrical stimulation, paraffin baths, hot and cold packs, traction, and ultrasound. Physical Therapist Assistants record the patient’s responses to treatment and report the outcome of each treatment to the Physical Therapist.
Physical Therapy Technicians
Physical Therapy Technicians help make therapy sessions productive, under the direct supervision of a Physical Therapist or Physical Therapist Assistant. They usually are responsible for keeping the treatment area clean and organized and for preparing for each patient’s therapy. When patients need assistance moving to or from a treatment area, technicians push them in a wheelchair or provide them with a shoulder to lean on. Because they are not licensed, technicians do not perform the clinical tasks of a Physical Therapist Assistant.
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