Healing Waters: Pool Puts Fibromyalgia and Arthritis Patients at Ease

Forty Fort rehabilitation center features aqua therapy

By DAWN ZERA for the Times Leader

FORTY FORT, PA – A newly opened aqua therapy pool at a physical therapy center is making it easier for patients to work through the pain of conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia.

The aqua therapy pool is at Wellspring, a physical rehabilitation and life-improvement center located in the Cross Valley West Professional Building, 190 Welles St.

Intermountain Medical Group opened the center in June 2004 and, after some delays, the pool opened earlier this year.

Patients are referred to Wellspring by their physicians. Aside from physical therapy, Wellspring offers nutritional counseling, massage therapy and acupuncture.

The pool, which measures 14 feet long, 10 feet wide and 4 feet deep, is open four days a week for therapy.

Wellspring physical therapy manager Dawn Van Horn said patients who can benefit most from the pool are those who suffer from arthritis, lower back and neck pain, and chronic pain disorders such as fibromyalgia, which tends to affect the muscles.

“They can do a lot of things in the pool that they may not be able to do on land,” Van Horn said. “The joints don’t feel the body weight. The buoyancy created by floating in water virtually eliminates the effects of gravity, reducing stress on the joints.”

The goal for each patient is to ease him or her out of the pool slowly as they undergo therapy.

A series of graduated steps in the pool helps achieve this aim slowly; each session, the patient can work on the next step up, until most of their body is out of the pool.

Forty Fort resident Barbara Kellar, who suffers from fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis and a neurological problem called reflex sympathetic disorder, said she enjoys the pool. Kellar said she has severe pain in her legs, and has visited several physical therapy centers during the last three years.

The other places were either too far away from her home or did not have an atmosphere where she felt comfortable. She has found the relief she needed at Wellspring.

“I really enjoyed the pool. It helped with the pain and helped relax my muscles. It was sometimes the only time I did not have pain.”
She recently was eased out of the pool and says she is able to continue her exercises away from the comfort of the pool’s buoyancy.

Source: http://www.timesleader.com/mld/timesleader/living/12223020.htm

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