When Nothing Seems to Help

It is a growing phenomenon that more people are diagnosed with chronic fatigue or pain syndrome. It may not be a life-threatening condition, but it sure has a great impact on one’s quality of life. The saddest part of it is that once it is developed, nothing seems help to alleviate it. People are passively drawn further into the situation and don’t know what to do.

Chronic fatigue or pain syndrome (fibromyalgia may also be used loosely for this diagnosis) has multiple causative factors which intertwine tightly with each other. It is almost impossible to identify the cause of it and how to resolve it. However, it is a general agreement that people respond positively to physical exercises. The question is how to get started. The endurance of this group of people is extremely low and they cannot tolerate even gentle exercises.

Aquatic therapy may be a starting point to rehab. There are several characteristics of aquatic therapy which make exercises more tolerable. 

  1. Water kept at 90 degrees
    The warmth of the water has a soothing effect which help people to relax.
  2. Hydrostatic pressure
    When you immerse in the water, there is a pressure acting on your body from the water. This pressure will help to improve the circulation in the same way as pressure stockings to the legs.  Improved circulation means the waste products accumulated in muscles can be carried away more efficiently, and more nutrient brought to the muscles. That, in turn, promotes healing.

  3. Buoyancy
    The buoyancy of the water provides support, which makes movement possible. Many people who cannot walk on land are able to in water once their body weight is lifted up from their legs. A weak limb after surgery will be able to move and exercise in the water as the weight on the joint is much less.

 If you feel like you are in this group of people, why not give it a try?  And if it doesn't work, it will not cause any harm.  However, if it is something which will help and you let it pass, you may be missing out on an opportunity to turn your life around. It is a long process, but it is a worthy one.

Peggy Hau, PT, MscPT is a licensed physical therapist at Mettler Center. Have questions about hydrotherapy? Ask an Expert. Pool therapy now offered at our therapy partner, the Stephens Family YMCA. Call 217-398-9800 to schedule a free 30-minute consultation with a physical therapist or request an appointment online.