Hydrotherapy is the application of controlled physiotherapy and prescriptive exercise delivered in an aquatic environment, by a suitably qualified person. The therapeutic properties of water are utilised to improve proprioception, range of motion, functionality, core strength and gait, in an environment that limits loading of painful, injured or diseased joints.
An underwater treadmill can be used to provide therapy in the form of gait patterning and sequencing, static and dynamic balance work, controlled exercise as well as practice of standing, walking and swimming. This can be tailored to be either low or high intensity, depending upon the reason for referral. The use of such equipment allows a therapist to perform treatment in a limited weight bearing environment, under greater intensity than that of just air.
Heated sanitised water is added at an adjustable level, permitting a therapist to influence joint motion. There are side panels within the unit which allow our therapists to safely stand within the treadmill while therapy is conducted, allowing the provision of assistance, support, reassurance and encouragement during treatment. Its primary use in veterinary patients is to enable early return of function following limb, back or neck, injury or surgery. This occurs through improved proprioception, muscle strength and core stability, in addition to improving the range of motion in compromised joints and aiding weight loss.
A benefit of this treatment when compared to traditional swimming is that an aquatic treadmill encourages a normal gait pattern, the variables (speed, resistance, incline, and water depth) can be controlled so the therapy can be more controlled and dynamic. In addition, the slow controlled introduction of water and close proximity of owner helps reduce fear enabling the patient to relax, therefore improving the results of the therapy session.
Benefits of Hydrotherapy
• Increased range of movement of joints
• Improved proprioception
• Aids muscle strengthening, maintenance and restoration
• Decreases pain during exercise
• Decreases stress on healing tissues
• Improved cardiovascular fitness
• Reduces muscle spasm and tone
• Increases speed of recovery
• Aids weight reduction
• Improves circulation and lymphatic drainage
• Decreases swelling and joint effusion
• Increases stability to unstable joints
• Aids transition to land based exercises
The conditions which may benefit from hydrotherapy are extensive and include:
• Hip Dysplasia – pre and post-operative.
• Elbow dysplasia – pre and post-operative.
• Legg- Calve- Perthes disease
• Cranial cruciate ligament ruptures – Pre and post-operative.
• Patella luxations – pre and post op
• Post-operative fracture repairs
• Soft Tissue Injuries
• Tendon Rupture
• Muscle Strains and Ruptures
• Spinal injuries – to include intravertebral disc disease and spondylosis
• Fibrocartilaginous embolisms
• Cervical Malformation syndrome (wobblers)
• Chronic Degenerative Rediculomyelopathy (CDRM)
• Osteochondritis Dessecans (OCD)
• Limb amputation
Land based services