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Physical Therapy

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Aquatic Therapy

Aquatic therapy uses the physical properties of water, including buoyancy and resistance, to aid in rehabilitation and healing. Buoyancy reduces stress on the joints and injured soft tissues, while resistance allows for strengthening of specific muscle groups.

The unique physical properties of water make it an ideal and comfortable medium in which to challenge all levels of strength, especially when joints are injured and movement is difficult. When used as part of an individualized treatment program, aquatic therapy allows for functional movement earlier in the therapeutic program by reducing the effects of weight bearing on joints by up to 80 percent. Our aquatic therapists also provide advice on how to continue aquatic therapy at home or at a local pool.

Benefits of Aquatic Therapy

  • Buoyancy counteracts the downward pull of gravity, giving the patient a sense of weight loss.
  • Water exercise reduces the stress, impact and friction between the joints and injured soft tissue or bone, allowing performance of exercises and activities that are intolerable in a land-based program. 
  • Varying the depth of submersion, weight-bearing effects can be decreased up to 80 percent. Then as tolerated, the patient can gradually progress to greater water weight bearing that allows for normal daily activities. 
  • Water provides a supportive environment to assist with postural awareness, ROM and ambulation. 
  • Through turbulence created by movement in the water, the trunk and extremities experience sensory input that assists with muscle recruitment and overall stability of the joints throughout the body.
  • Support and stability for muscles and joints. By varying the patient's orientation or direction of motion, therapists can help patients utilize water for support with increasing range of motion, as well as for resistance and strengthening of specific muscle groups. 

Aquatic therapy can provide benefits to patients recovering from a broad range of musculoskeletal and neurological problems, including:

  • Sprains and strains
  • Tendon and ligament injuries
  • Fractures
  • Joint replacements
  • Stroke and other neurological disorders
  • Loss of strength or mobility
  • Muscle spasms and pain
  • Back pain
  • Orthopedic injuries
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Sensory disorders
  • Range of motion disorders
  • Spasticity
  • Perceptual and spatial problems
  • Balance deficits

Evaluation and Treatment

A highly trained occupational or physical therapist performs a comprehensive evaluation of each patient to establish an appropriate plan of care.

Make an Appointment

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Contact us or call (713) 521-0020.


Aquatic therapy is available at the following Houston Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation facilities:

Intensive Therapy and Neurorehabilitation