Aquatic Therapy Provides Pain Relief for Benefis Patients

For Jim Davis, walking is painful, slow, and requires a cane, but everything changes when he’s in the water for physical therapy.

Benefis Health System’s physical therapy program offers aqua therapy at the Peak Health and Wellness Center.

“I love it,” Jim said. “It does a lot more than my on-land therapy. It’s easier on the body. It’s good for me, and I like to do it.”

Jim finds he can do more of a workout in the warm-water pool, while having less of a negative impact on his body. He can move in ways he can’t out of water.

In a recent therapy session, he started with a march in the pool. He added dumbbells to work his core and hopped from foot to foot in the chest-deep water for a single leg balance exercise.

jim davis

“Aquatic therapy looks easy, and it feels easy while you’re doing it, but afterward you know you did a workout,” he said.

Bodies respond to movement, therapy assistant Linda Wurz said as she took Jim through his workout.

“As we move more, we feel better, gain confidence and skill, which leads to improved health and overall function in life,” she said. “Patients who are in pain, injured, or not capable of comfortably or safely exercising on land can move easily in the water.”

Linda’s role is to guide patients through the proper form so they aren’t doing anything harmful. She aims to help patients build strength, flexibility, balance, and improved range of motion.

“We treat a lot of back pain and chronic pain, such as suffered by people with fibromyalgia or multiple sclerosis,” she said. “The pool is amazing for helping people regain balance and learn to walk normally following surgical repairs.”

For athletes, an aquatic therapy program can be used for an easier return to sports. Patients can do the same movements they need for their sport, but in the pool for less stress and pain.

Linda finds inspiration in the Loren Eiseley quote: “If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.”

For her patients, that magic is in pain-free movement.

If you think you might benefit from aquatic therapy, visit  Benefis Physical Therapy.