Aquatic Exercise - The Ehlers Danlos Society

Aquatic Exercise: Benefits and Principles for the EDS Population Kathleen Zonarich, PT Benefits of Aquatic Exercise Reduce stress on joints Increase muscle strength and tone Decrease pain Increase cardiovascular function Improve balance and coordination Decrease edema Improve posture and trunk control Increase in limited range of motion Improve circulation due to hydrostatic

pressure Benefits of Aquatic Exercise Warm water promotes relaxation Improve proprioception Improve kidney function Increase respiratory function - due to hydrostatic pressure Fun (cont.) Water as a Medium for Exercise

Buoyancy Decreases the stress placed on joints resulting in less pain Assists with movement by eliminating gravity Resistance Allows for increased resistance without the use of weights, limiting the distraction of joints Pressure Hydrostatic pressure reduces joint and soft tissue swelling Improves joint position awareness Assists with venous return Relaxation

Warm water allows for relaxation of muscles and blood vessels, improving blood flow Physical Properties of Water Related to Aquatic Exercise Buoyancy Upward pressure exerted by a fluid in which a body is immersed (Archimedes Principle) Buoyancy and gravity are antagonists Equilibrium is reached when floating partially immersed

Upright at neck level Physical Properties of Water Related to Aquatic Exercise (cont.) Buoyancy (cont.) Provides support Reduces effects of gravity on joints Decreases strain on muscles and joints Provides resistance Using flotation equipment

Physical Properties of Water Related to Aquatic Exercise (cont.) Hydrostatic pressure Fluid pressure is exerted equally on all surface areas of an immersed body at rest at a given depth (Pascals Law) The deeper the body part is in water, the greater the force

Benefits Returns blood to heart more efficiently e.g. - from legs to heart Mild resistance of rib expansion- breathing in neck deep water is exercise in itself Physical Properties of Water Related to Aquatic Exercise (cont.) Relative density Relation of mass of object to mass of equal

volume of liquid at standard temperature and pressure Sink or float Object more dense than water, will sink Object less dense than water, will float Muscle is more dense than adipose tissue (fat) Physical Properties of Water Related to Aquatic Exercise (cont.) Fluid resistance Force that opposes motion of an object through

a fluid It is necessary to push through water in order to move yourself, thus acting as resistance Supports your body in water and assists you with holding your position Physical Properties of Water Related to Aquatic Exercise (cont.) Fluid resistance (cont.) Benefits Improve balance Increase sensory awareness Improve reaction time in a gentle environment

Physical Properties of Water Related to Aquatic Exercise (cont.) TurbulenceRandom motion of water as it responds to a disturbance Benefits Swirling of water against the body Massage Increase circulation Decrease pain

Resistance Sensory input Overpowers pain message to brain (like a TENS unit does) Change in speed or direction can alter turbulence force Increase turbulence with gloves, paddles, jets, and more people in water around you Signs of Overuse in the EDS Population It is normal for muscles to feel sore or tired for 24-48 hours after exercising It is not normal to have the following symptoms after exercising:

Muscle cramps/spasm Muscle twitching Increase in muscle/joint pain Decrease in range of motion Decrease in functional activity Extreme fatigue Guidelines for the EDS Population If you exhibit signs of overuse, you did too much Decrease one or more of the variables If symptoms continue, discuss with your PT or doctor Water exercise can be deceiving, it may seem easy and that you can do more than you should The first time you exercise in the water, stick with an easy

workout, until you see how the water has affected you Warm water can increase fatigue, use caution Be sure to hydrate you still sweat in water Wear pool shoes for better traction Your body may be tired after water exercise, be sure to have a safe way to get out of the pool NEVER GO IN THE WATER ALONE Types of Aquatic Therapy Ai Chi Strengthen and tone body while enhancing relaxation Aquatic PNF

Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation which uses patterns of movement in different positions with specific exercises Bad Ragaz Ring Method A series of movements while being supported by a ring or float at neck and hips Types of Aquatic Therapy (cont.) Back Hab Walking program using varying strides and

stretches Useful for individuals with back pain, hamstring injuries, or decreased abdominal strength Fluid Movements Individuals follow a series of movements based on early developmental stages of infancy Halliwick Method Rotational patterns are performed to improve balance and postural control Types of Aquatic Therapy

(cont.) Swim stroke Using a variety of stroke forms Task type training Use of functional activities in water Watsu Moving the body in a way that enables one part of the body to be stretched at a time Aquatic Exercise Equipment Assistive Floats

Noodles Vests Belts Dumbbells Webbed gloves Flippers Kickboards Aquatic Exercise Equipment Resistive Webbed gloves Foam dumbbells

Paddles Flippers Jets (cont.) Initial considerations: Get approval from your doctor or physical therapist before starting any exercise program. If there are any cardiac/vascular issues, please discuss appropriate exercise levels with your doctor, specific to you. This presentation is only meant to serve as a general template. The specific exercises mentioned

are not intended to be used by everyone. (consult your PT/doctor) Never exercise in water alone. Components of Aquatic Exercise Warm up 5-10 minutes Gentle movements Adapt to being in water Walking Components of Aquatic Exercise (cont.)

Stretching and ROM Can be used as part of the warm up Range of Motion (ROM) should only be done within the normal range Stretching should focus on any areas that are tight and should only be done within the normal ROM Warm water will relax the muscles, enabling muscles to stretch easier This can lead to overstretching/hyperextension in the EDS population which is contraindicated. Use caution.

Components of Aquatic Exercise (cont.) Strengthening/Toning Variables that impact strengthening/toning Buoyancy Resistance Surface area Turbulence Lever arm length Speed Depth Frequency Repetitions

Components of Aquatic Exercise (cont.) Depth of Water as it Relates to Weight Bearing The deeper the water, the less force will be placed through your joints If you are at C7 (neck level), you are at 10% of your body weight If you are at the xiphoid process, you are at 33% of your body weight If you are at the level of your belly button, you are at 50% of your body weight

Components of Aquatic Exercise Strengthening/Toning Use of buoyancy to support Floating position on back Move arms and legs in a way that the water supports you (cont.) Components of Aquatic Exercise (cont.)

Strengthening/Toning (cont.) Use of buoyancy to assist Positioning self in a way that the water will assist with the movement In neck deep water, palm on thigh Allow water to assist hand coming to surface Longer lever arm will increase ease of movement Components of Aquatic Exercise (cont.) Strengthening/Toning (cont.)

Use of buoyancy to resist Use of the water to resist your movement Neck deep - palm on surface of water and pull down to thigh Same exercise can be made harder with the addition of a floatation device such as a Styrofoam dumbbell Longer lever arm is going to increase difficulty Components of Aquatic Exercise (cont.)

Strengthening/Toning (cont.) Resistance Increase the resistance by increasing the speed Decrease the resistance by decreasing the speed Components of Aquatic Exercise (cont.) Strengthening/Toning (cont.) Turbulence Movement of water around you will challenge your balance and strength Water propelled by jets will increase the turbulence

of the water and increase the challenge Moving against turbulence will be the greatest challenge Only progress through these levels when you are able to successfully perform at each level. The more people in the water, the more the turbulence Components of Aquatic Exercise (cont.) Strengthening /Toning (cont.) Surface area

Increasing the surface area of the water being displaced by movement will increase strength Open hand with fingers spread apart will be easier than closing your hand and moving through the water Moving through the water with the side of your palm cutting through the water will be easier than if you move through the water with your palm flat This applies also to the concept of surface tension Components of Aquatic Exercise (cont.)

Aerobic/ exercise Walking Swimming Deep water bicycling Deep water jogging Treadmill walking/running 10-20 minutes is the goal May need to start at 2-3 minutes and gradually work up to longer time frame Components of Aquatic Exercise Cool down

5 minutes of relaxing movement Slow walking Gentle swimming/floating (cont.) Additional Components of Aquatic Exercise Balance - floats assist, turbulence challenges Trunk control/Strength - turbulence will challenge Proprioception Ankle weights assist (but not recommended in

this population) Buoyancy will challenge Water takes away visual accuracy - improves prop. Coordination More challenging with resistance of water Water Temperature Recommendations: 85-88 degrees for active/aerobic exercise 88-92 degrees for passive or gentle active exercise Over 95 degrees at risk for excessive fatigue

and dehydration Aquatic Exercise Precautions for POTS/ VEDS POTS Movement will minimize issues Issues can result from Change of position (supine to stand) Static postures (sitting /standing for longer than 20 mins.) Water temperature should be less than body temp

VEDS Low impact Minimal aerobic exercise (Dr. Tinkle) Precautions for Aquatic Exercise Fear of water Impaired mobility getting in and out of pool Significant balance or vestibular disorder Orthostatic hypotension Recently healed surgical incision Absent or impaired peripheral sensation Diabetes

Respiratory dysfunction Colostomy Difficulty with bowel or bladder control Seizure disorder controlled well by medications Tracheotomy tube Compromised vision without corrective lenses Compromised cardiac or respiratory system (poor endurance or asthma) Contraindications for Aquatic Exercise Cardiac failure Fever Infection

Urinary infections Open wounds Infectious diseases Contagious skin rash Excessive fear of water Severely weakened or deconditioned state Uncontrolled seizures Bowel or bladder incontinence Colostomy bag or catheter used by patient Cognitive or functional impairment that would create a hazard to the patient in the pool Poor endurance Abnormal tone Severe or decreased range of motion that limits function

Case Study 1 45 year old patient that has HEDS Occasional aches and pains that generally resolve Patients goal is to increase general strength/ tone Otherwise uncomplicated medical history Exercises for Case Study 1 Warm up General water movements- walking 5 min Stretching

Any tightness, working only within normal range of motion Strengthening Upper Extremity exercises- gloves for resistance in shoulder height water Lower Extremity exercises- deep water using hydro belt Core exercises- deep water using hydro-belt Aerobic exercise Swimming Deep water jogging with hydro belt Cool down- 5 min Tai chi exercises

Case Study 2 12 year old child with frequent joint dislocations/ sub-luxations in knees, SI joint, elbows, shoulders, fingers Decreased muscle tone Pain in feet limiting activity Significant joint laxity in all gross joints Unable to participate in sports/PE Exercises for Case Study 2 Warm up- 5 min Water walking at chest height with arm on dumbbells for

support Strengthening exercises No resistive tools Upper Extremity exercises Water at shoulder height May use dumbbells to support arms while doing exercises on surface of water Lower Extremity exercises Deep water exercise or standing ex in shoulder height water Supine float for exercises as well Core Exercises Supine floating on surface with supports Deep water with hydro-belt Exercises for Case Study 2 (cont)

Aerobic Exercise Noodle jogging in deep water Swimming laps Swimming underwater for rings Tag (sharks and minnows) Basketball Catch Cool down- 5 min Tai chi Walking while playing game Case Study 3 25 year old with significant pain in shoulders,

neck and back Has tried land based therapy 3 times with no success in resolution of pain Spends day at desk working on computer Exercises for Case Study 3 Warm up- 5 min Water walking at chest height Floating on back with supports at neck/pelvis Stretching Only areas of tension working within normal range of motion Strengthening Upper Extremity (UE) exercises

No resistance, slow movements, use of buoyancy to support/ assist Lower Extremity (LE) exercises No resistance, decreased speed May use buoyancy to support/assist if need due to back issues Core Co-contraction of core muscles to be used while doing Exercises for Case Study 3 (cont) Aerobic Exercise Chest height water walking (support arms if need) Supine back glides using Bilateral Arms and legs

Supine/prone swimming using kickboard to support UE while LE kicks slowly or as back tolerates Cool down -5 min Gentle supine float with flotation device with gentle movement Water walking at chest height The End Bibliography "Aquatic Precautions." Message to the author. 19 June 2012. E-mail. 05 August 2012. Henley, Cynthia, and Kathryn Wollam. "Benefits and

Techniques of Aquatic Therapy." Reading. 23 Apr. 2009. Web. 06 June 2012. Understanding Aquatic Therapy." Advance for Physical Therapy and Rehab Medicine. N.p., 2010. Web. 06 June 2012. Wolfe, Krista and Kathleen Zonarich. "Aquatics." Therapeutic Exercise: Aquatics. Central Penn College, Summerdale, PA. 06 June 2012. Lecture.

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