Hydrotherapy and Your Arthritis

If you suffer from arthritis, you may benefit from attending a course of hydrotherapy sessions.  But what is hydrotherapy and how could it help to ease the pain of your arthritis?  Read on for more information.


Although hydrotherapy sessions usually take place in a swimming pool, hydrotherapy differs from plain swimming in that it involves sufferers carrying out specially designed exercises.  The water temperature in a hydrotherapy pool is typically warmer than that of a standard swimming pool and is usually set between 33 and 36 degrees Celsius.  

Some large hospitals and specialist physiotherapy centres have special hydrotherapy pools staffed by trained physiotherapists and used specifically for the treatment of arthritis sufferers and other patients with mobility problems. The exercises that you will undertake are designed to help improve your range of movement, build up your strength and encourage relaxation.  All the exercises are very gentle, unlike aquarobics which can be rather strenuous and is not really suitable for arthritis sufferers.

Hydrotherapy and arthritis

Hydrotherapy is useful in the treatment of many different types of arthritis including:

  • spondylitis
  • osteoarthritis
  • psoriatic arthritis

There are a number of ways in which hydrotherapy can help to ease the pain of arthritis.

  1. The warm water helps to relax your muscles, helping you to exercise and easing joint pain.  
  2. Water can act as a buoyancy aid, allowing you to take the strain off your joints so that you can exercise more easily.  
  3. Water offers a mild resistance during exercise without the need for using heavy weights which could be painful and lead to injury.

Before you can begin hydrotherapy, your GP or physiotherapist will carry out an assessment of your condition to determine how the therapy could be of benefit.  You will then be started on a course of five or six hydrotherapy sessions, usually lasting around 30 minutes per session.  When the course has finished, you will be encouraged to continue with the exercises at your local swimming pool or in your own pool at home. 

Some public pools offer special warm water sessions and exercise classes aimed at arthritis sufferers.  However, if you do sign up for one of these classes, always check that the content will be suitable for your condition before you begin.

If you suffer from arthritis, you may find that hydrotherapy is of great benefit to you, easing your pain, loosening stiff joints and making it easier for you to move around without discomfort.  Have a chat with your doctor or physiotherapist today to arrange an assessment and discover whether hydrotherapy could help you.