Shocking Aquatic Therapy Case Shows Promise For Those Afflicted With Paralysis
If you're suffering from partial or complete paralysis, it's easy to lose hope. You may even feel like skipping physical therapy, failing to see the point in such endeavors. However, a recent breakthrough in Ireland seems to show that aquatic therapy may help restore some or even all function after paralysis.
The Incredible Story
A man in Ireland named Gareth Galway suffered from total paralysis (to the point where he couldn't breathe unassisted) due to infection by a disease called "Guillain-Barre Syndrome." Hooked to a breathing machine and unable to move, physiotherapy was nearly impossible. So his physiotherapists tried something different: they immersed him in water.
Here, Galway could move, very slightly, without pain. Over time, his movement increased and he was regaining his ability to breathe. After just 20 weeks of therapy, he was able to walk out of the hospital unassisted. Other hospitals in Ireland are now looking into this treatment method.
Not Exactly New, But Still Startling
While this result is startling, there's a reason his therapists tried it: water has long been used to help people suffering from severe musculo-skeletal problems. For example, one of the ancient fathers of medicine, Hippocrates, was recommending aquatic therapy 2,400 years ago. It has been used to improve everything from cardiovascular strength, to boosting circulation, and increasing range of flexibility.
The low-impact realm of aquatic therapy has made it particularly useful for those with weak or damaged spines. It helped avoid adding unnecessary strain on an already injured area. And while Galway's problem was caused by a different situation than most spinal injuries, his recovery is still incredibly promising.
Can Aquatic Therapy Help You?
The excitement this discovery has caused in Irish hospitals likely has you asking: could aquatic therapy work for me? It probably depends on the type and severity of your concern. If you suffered from the same symptom as Galway, aquatic therapy may work for you. More research needs to be done to confirm it, but his success causes hope.
What about severe spinal injuries? There's more uncertainty there. While it can definitely be used to restore some range of motion and to restore movement in less severe cases, it may not be able to cure total paralysis. However, it could still help eliminate a lot of pain and keep you physically active.
The best way to be sure is to ask your physical therapist about these options. They may have already heard about Galway's breakthrough and may be willing to help you get into aquatic therapy. If not, ask them about it and see what they think.
For more information, contact a professional, like those at Advanced Physical Therapy.