Back Rehab for Senior Patients Using Aquatic Therapy

Whether you’re suffering from chronic back pain or recovering from back surgery, aquatic therapy is the ideal tool for back rehab so you can get you back on your feet. Here’s one story of successful recovery using hydrotherapy.

The Carolina Spine and Neurosurgery Center uses their SwimEx 1000T pool to treat spinal cord injuries and back rehab for elder patients. The non-weight bearing environment produces great results. This video demonstrates how the facility uses their hydrotherapy to help patients increase their general fitness:

The fundamental properties of water supports, resists and assists movement. Water creates a safe and supportive environment. It is an ideal place to exercise, rehabilitate, and condition. Here’s why:

Pain leads a patient to seek physical therapy, yet it is often the exact thing that interferes with successful treatment. Water therapy helps eliminate pain and increase relief, making a patient more willing and motivated to participate in treatment and achieve successful results.

Basic advantages of water therapy for back rehab

The basic properties of water create mechanical advantages that are based on simple physics.

Hydrostatic pressure

The weight of a fluid – in this case water – against an object. When a client gets in water, hydrostatic pressure creates a uniform support system for all immersed body parts. The deeper a client goes, the greater the support. Benefits of this support include reduced swelling, improved circulation, diminished soreness due to lactic acid reduction, and less joint stress and cardiovascular strain.

back rehab aquatic therapy


The ability or tendency to float in water. Based on the principles of buoyancy, a patient immersed in water up to their neck bears 10% of their body weight on their legs. If the water is chest high, they are bearing 25% on their legs, and if the water is at their hips or pelvis, the weight is at 50%. Their body literally feels lighter, providing relief to the chronic discomfort felt in a patient’s legs. Hydrotherapy gives patients a mechanical advantage to perform rehabilitation and recovery movements correctly without the inhibition of pain.


A fluid’s resistance to flow. The level of resistance is based on the thickness of the fluid (in this case, water), and the speed and surface area of the moving object in the water. The larger the object, the greater the resistance or drag. Moving with water flow creates assistance, moving against it creates resistance.

Download this free guide with tips, advice and real life examples of how clinics and hospitals are using hydrotherapy to achieve success.

~ Authored by Liz Lecomte


For Senior Living

Everything you need to run a successful hydrotherapy program

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