Utah Rehab Update – Water Therapy

I wanted to send out another update from my therapy at Neuroworx in Utah. I’ve been interested in doing water therapy in a pool for quite some time now as I’ve heard from other SCI patients of how much they enjoy it and how much it’s helped them. While it’s possible to jump into a normal pool, the ideal therapeutic water therapy pools have  the following elements:

  • A small pool (about the size of two hot tubs) that is relatively shallow (4-5 feet deep)
  • Jets for resistance and swimming exercises
  • Very warm temperature – almost like a hot tub since SCI patients have a hard time regulating body temperature, a traditional pool may be too cold
  • Floating devices and exercise equipment that is useful in the pool
  • Underwater parallel bars and treadmill
  • Physical Therapists and/or trained staff

Interestingly enough, I found a place not far from my home in California that has a therapeutic pool with all of these features but my pathetic excuse for health insurance has denied me for this therapy, even though my Rehab doctor and my PT referred me for it and said it would have many benefits for my recovery. My insurance states that because I can do land therapy (which they’re not providing or paying for either), there is “no medical need” for water therapy. As frustrating as that had been, I was thrilled when I found out that I was going to be able to experience water therapy during my time in Utah.

I ended up having water therapy every other day and I really enjoyed it. There is something fantastic about taking gravity out of the picture and feeling the weightlessness of my legs in the water. I did some exercises targeting my abs and core that were similar to movements that I would do on land, but the water allowed me to push my limits a bit more and not worry about falling face first into the ground.

Abdominal/core exercises – these are much harder to do for me than it may seem due to my weak abs. Also, notice the screen in front of me showing the underwater camera shots of my legs:

I also spent about 15 minutes just swimming against the jets in order to get a cardio workout and have full body exercise:

I hope this gives a good sense of some of the different therapies I’ve been doing and why I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to do all of these things under one roof and under the eye of an incredibly talented and knowledgeable staff. My time at Neuroworx was very well spent and I’m excited about taking the lessons I learned back home and applying them to my continuing rehab.

13 thoughts on “Utah Rehab Update – Water Therapy

  1. People work so hard to develop good therapies, and then those who need them are denied by insurance. I’m glad you got an opportunity to try them. I hope it’s in your future, somehow, as well.

  2. you are done already? What a bummer! I cant imagine how wonderful it must have felt to be there and taken care of and encouraged like you need! The core exercises are tremendously helpful! It is amazing the difference a strong core makes in EVERYTHING that one does! Just breathing is better with a strong core!

  3. So wonderful to see you working in the water like this Arash! Wow.. the underwater shots are amazing.. I am bummed your insurance had denied this. I advise you to appeal it — and appeal it again. I think they will approve it eventually for you — it’s huge as you say … to remove gravity from the scenario… even psychologically for you to be able to feel the weightlessness has to be therapeutic. Sending Love — so enjoyed these! ~RL

    • I am in the process of appealing, and reappealing and reappealing… The water is truly amazing and I’m doing my best to do it more. I’m hoping they will finally relent and grant me some water therapy sessions. -AB

  4. So glad you got to try the water therapy in Utah, Arash. I’m sorry to hear about the stupid insurance and not being able to do it close to home… It’s funny. This reminds me of a hundred-year old book about hydrotherapy that my mom has. (She’s a PT.) Not sure where she got it from, but the pictures (men in full-body suits with stripes so that they look like convicts) are hilarious! I’m glad they’ve updated water therapy since then… Anyway, you looked great in the videos. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  5. wow, it’s really great to see your therapies at Neuroworx in action – to see you doing both the water therapy and the locomat = fantastic. Thanks for posting video as well. So happy you were able to go to Utah for this… best wishes on the return home. xoxo

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