Hydrotherapy & Aquatic Equipment for Rheumatoid Arthritis

The must have information about water therapy for the relief of Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms.

Overview of Rheumatoid Arthritis

It is estimated that there are three people suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis in every 10,000 people worldwide, and the incidence rate of the condition is about 1%. This prevalence rate increases with age and comes to a peak between the ages of 35 and 50 years old. 

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful medical disorder and is the most prevalent auto-immune form of arthritis. Auto-immune diseases occur when the tissues of the body are wrongly attacked by the immune system, which consists of cells and antibodies whose purpose usually is to seek and destroy invaders of the body, especially infections.  

Patients with arthritis and auto-immune disorders have antibodies in their blood that attack their own body cells.  

Rheumatoid arthritis is a common chronic inflammatory auto-immune disorder that is hallmarked by inflammation of the synovial joints resulting in joint and periarticular tissue damage, including a wide range of extra-articular features. Rheumatoid arthritis is linked with significant morbidities, such as pain and disability. 

Who's most likely to suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Anyone of any age can develop Rheumatoid arthritis.  Another puzzling aspect of Rheumatoid arthritis is that it is much more common in women than in men (3:1) and that the most common age of onset is between the ages of 30 and 50. As for the prevalence per gender, for ages 60 years old and up, this pain-bearing and chronic disease occurs with equal incidence in men and women.  

Rheumatoid Arthritis occurs in the same frequency throughout the world, demonstrating that neither climate nor diet alone plays a role in its prevalence.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

The overall diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis is made by collating a combination of medical, laboratory, and imaging features. Bone scan findings may help differentiate inflammatory from non-inflammatory alterations in patients with the slightest swelling, and densitometry findings may be able to diagnose changes in bone mineral density that are suggestive of osteoporosis. 

First signs of Rheumatoid and many people suffering from Rheumatoid arthritis say that they have at least many, if not all, of these symptoms:

• Synovitis- Continuous symmetric polyarthritis of hands and feet (main feature)  

• Progressive articular deterioration  

• Extra-articular involvement  

• Difficulty doing activities of daily living

• Constitutional symptoms 

• Stiffness - Stiff Joints

• Joint tenderness

• Pain on Motion 

• Swelling

• Deformity

• Limitation of Movement 

• Malaise

• Fatigue

• Weight loss

• Anemia

• Sicca syndrome

• Rheumatoid nodules

• Felty's syndrome

• Rheumatoid vasculitis

• Increased blood pressure


Patients with rheumatoid arthritis may have problems doing activities of daily living, such as:  

• Dressing

• Standing 

• Walking  

• Personal hygiene

• Use of hands

Water Therapy & Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease involving inflammation and joint damage. Hydrotherapy can help slow this damage and improve overall joint movement without too much discomfort.

In a 2012 study, patients who received hydrotherapy treatment for rheumatoid arthritis gained some beneficial effects in improving their health status (such as reduced pain scores) compared with the control groups. 

Further additional benefits included a substantial increase in physical activity and emotional well-being in patients in the aquatic programs compared with control groups in the short term.

Inflammation:Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that is characterized by inflammation, and inflammation is one of the most obvious symptoms of a rheumatoid arthritis patient.  To help address the inflammation, the use of aquatic therapy utilizes the healing properties of water and the body's reaction to it at different temperatures. For instance, therapists may use cold water to reduce inflammation, while warm water may increase circulation.  Water treatment reduces the inflammatory process through the water's hydrostatic pressure. The benefit of hydrostatic pressure is that it helps circulation by helping the lymphatic system return fluids in the internal tissues of the body back into the bloodstream to be circulated around the body again.

Progressive articular deterioration:Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis is often tailored to a person's lifestyle and the triggers that cause pain and soreness.  Water therapy is just one of the options for relief and improved movement that does not require pharmaceutical intervention. The water can help the deterioration slow down and may significantly reduce joint pain.

Difficulty doing activities of daily living: Working out in the water will always be a better option for those who struggle to complete simple daily activities such as walking and using their hands. The water physically supporting you helps prevent the stress on joints and muscles and, thus, mentally freeing you from any fear of falling, so it's much easier to move. Hydrotherapy helps to increase both the range of motion in the affected joints and overall mobility.   

Stiffness: Many people suffering from Rheumatoid arthritis have reported stiffness, which is generally widespread in the body. As is typical of any other pain-bearing disease, the stiffness is usually felt in the morning and may improve as the day progresses. A water-based exercise regimen is an excellent form of therapy as it allows the stiff and painful joints and muscles to relax and release stiffness.

Joint Tenderness: With the water physically surrounding and supporting you, preventing stress on these tender points will help you move easily. You will be more confident when moving around in the water.

Pain in Motion: Hydrotherapy helps reduce the painful feeling when you move. Since the water supports your weight, there is reduced pressure on your joints. The warmth of the water helps soothe pain and improve your blood circulation. Water helps create resistance as you walk through it or move your arms and legs against it. This resistance builds your strength.

Deformity: Deformity is one symptom of rheumatoid arthritis. Together with working out in the water, the water's therapeutic ability will help minimize these deformities caused by weakened muscles. 

Fatigue: Patients with Rheumatoid arthritis experience short periods of energy. For most, this fatigue is considered more of a disability than pain, as it impacts the quality of life. Working out in the water activates your bones and joints more, making it a safer exercise option.

Weight loss:Working out in the water helps increase weight by muscle building. The water, together with resistance bands, helps create tears in the muscles, similar to using dumbbells, to improve muscle growth and weight gain. Water-based exercises are just as effective for weight loss as exercises conducted on land.

Water Therapy Equipment & Rheumatoid Arthritis

An Aqua Bike is also a great piece of aquatic equipment that can help alleviate the symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis and enables exercise with minimal pain as it can:  

• Reduce stiffness 

• Alleviates muscle pain

• Enhances blood flow

• Improves mobility

• Improves physical and mental relief and reduces anxiety.

• Improve sleep

Water Resist customers training on AquaBikes have seen a significant reduction in symptoms and the pain associated with Rheumatoid arthritis. The intense cycling motion of the Aqua Bike equipment intensifies the hydrotherapy benefit of the hydrostatic pressure. The hydrostatic pressure created by the water and equipment amplifies and speeds up the reduction of inflammation, stiffness and pain. We recommend working with your Rheumatologist to track your inflammation markers prior and quarterly to track your inflammation reduction. Frequency drastically improves the results for Rheumatoid Arthritis and recommend 3-5 times a week to reduce flare ups. Once under control the number of sessions can reduce to 2 times per week.

An Aqua Treadmill is also a helpful piece of equipment to reduce the symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis and enables exercise with minimal pain as it: 

• Improves mobility without impact or pain

• Improves movement

• Enhances blood flow.

• Relaxes the body and mind addressing 

• The soothing effect of the water may also help reduce the perception of pain, helping lower anxiety

Note: Please seek medical advice before exercising & always train under the advice your medical specialist.


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