The Advance Rehab Centre is launching a new exciting innovative 6 week hydrotherapy program for people with Multiple Sclerosis. The program is designed to educate and empower you with the knowledge and skills you need to continue exercising for a fitter and healthier lifestyle which is specific to your MS. You may be wondering why a hydro program would work and what would a 6 week program offer, below are a some answers to why we feel this is how to take the best foot forward in your goal towards life long health.
Why do I need to exercise?
It is well researched that people with MS are one of the least active neurological groups of people. This very low activity level means that the risks of secondary conditions including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, etc is very high. There is a long list of all the benefits that exercise can have on general health as well as MS, these include;
- Fatigue management
- Maintaining your day to day function including walking
- Maintaining balance
- Cardiovascular health
- Pain management
- Stress and depression management
- Spasticity management
- Higher quality of life / independence
- Brain power
But I suffer with fatigue and often feel too tired to exercise?
Fatigue can be really disabling and limiting for you and exercise often is the last thing you would even consider if you are just about managing to get through the day. However, there is significant research to prove that exercise improves fatigue. With improved levels of energy you will be able to achieve much more in your day. Fatigue is a primary symptom of MS, however it can also be due to general loss of activity levels and the effect of being unfit. When you do try to exercise you get tired because you body is out of condition and not use to it. Some people exercise too hard initially and end up feeling worse from the exercise and are put off. This program will support you through the right exercise levels for your fatigue to help manage it and give you increased energy levels.
Why should I do hydro? Would the local gym not do?
Hydrotherapy has been used for rehabilitation for hundreds of years, there is both physical and mental healing properties of being in the water. The buoyancy of the water decreases the load on your legs. This support can relieve aching joints and muscles and also allows you to move much more freely if you struggle with land based activity, i.e. only able to walk short distances and often relying on a wheelchair. You can still work just as hard in the water as you do on land with the added resistance and turbulence of the water. Often working hard in the gym can cause sore muscles the next couple of days whereas in the pool this delayed muscle soreness is decreased which enables you to stay active in your day to day routine. There is nothing wrong with your local gym and we encourage you to be making links with local facilities so that you could continue your exercise and healthy lifestyle. This program is based in a pool but all the principles taught can be applied to land based training as well.
Vigorous exercise has been shown to release important hormones and chemicals into your blood stream that are needed in the brain to stimulate increased nerve activity within the brain. This provides neurological health and exercising in water has been shown with preliminary studies to release more of this vital hormone than land based exercise.
The heat really effects me and my fatigue, wont a heated pool make me worse?
Common thought is that the heat of a hydrotherapy pool may increase your symptoms, contrary to popular belief however, when a pool is at themoneutral 34 degrees this helps to stabilize the body temperature. This is because air and water conducts temperature differently, as water is a better conductor it will remove heat from the body better than the air temp. Therefore core temperature is better maintained in the pool than on land and overheating is much less likely to happen.
I have significant pain which limits me, how could I exercise?
Hydrotherapy is well proven to help with pain relief; this is due to the heat and buoyancy. Hydrotherapy can especially help with reducing neuropathic pain which is a very common symptom of MS.
What is 6 weeks going to do for me?
Everyone has to start somewhere; a 6 week program has been shown by evidence based research to improve cardiovascular fitness, fatigue management, pain management, and give you a grounding to make health behavior changes. This allows enough time to help with any issues that may arise while exercising, however it is a short enough program not to demand too much commitment on time or finances.
What happens when the program finishes?
The program is designed to educate and empower you about how to continue exercising as part of a healthy lifestyle, we will discuss what the individual options are for you regarding your likes and dislikes and the facilities that are within your area. There is also the opportunity to continue using the hydro pool at ARC by going into one of our other hydrotherapy maintenance groups.
How will I get in the pool?
If you are mobile there is a set of steps with rails both sides, however we also have a hoist to access the pool in and out.
I struggle to get changed?
You are welcome to bring a carer, family member or friend to assist with changing and they are also welcome to watch the sessions if they are going to be assisting you to continue your exercise in the future.
I already exercise, what more can this program offer me?
The program is run by our team of very experienced senior neurological physiotherapists who will be providing a structured education component. To accompany the program a hand book will be provided to support this. Topics to be covered include;
- Exercise prescription
- Fatigue management
- Pain management
- Cognitive, stress and depression management
- Other services / professionals to assist you
- Where to from here – supporting you to be able to continue independently with the increased knowledge of the correct exercise for your MS
To help launch this fantastic new program and to find out more about the benefits of exercise for MS and the multitude of different services available there will be an MS open day at the ARC clinic in St Leonards on Saturday 21st September 2013 at 11am.
For any further information or to register for the 6 week hydrotherapy program please contact us at ARC on 02 9906 7777