“Motion is the Lotion”… But What if it's Not?

-  Written by Dr. Genevieve Griffin, PT, DPT, OCS, GCFP 

While flipping through my notes, I recently ran across a couple catchphrases so many of us in physical therapy know: “Motion is the Lotion” and “Use it or Lose it.” But, what do you do if you are someone that hurts to move let alone exercise? 

I see patients in our Aquatic Therapy program 2 - 3 times a week.  Today, I met a person that I’ll refer to as “Charlie.”  He was telling me it “All fell apart at age 55.”  Before that, he hiked the Allegheny Mountains, hunted deer and turkey, and was 60 pounds lighter.  Today, at age 62, everything he does hurts and he spends most of his time in pain at home.  What?!  

For Charlie and many others in persistent pain, pain free movement can begin in the pool. Charlie reports he feels relief for the first time in a long time while in the water.  But why is this? 

Water has several properties that allows for improved movement.  

The three primary properties of water are buoyancy, hydrostatic pressure, and viscosity.  Buoyancy allows a person to feel weightless and relieves stresses on muscles, joints and the body.  This, in turn, allows for relaxation, increased range of motion and improved coordination.  Hydrostatic pressure improves blood circulation and reduces swelling, reducing inflammation and pain.  The viscosity of the water provides added resistance which helps increase muscle strength.   

Charlie will soon be able to move without pain, become stronger, and eventually everyday movement will not hurt.  If exercising hurts, get in the water and give yourself 6 - 12 months to build up your strength and endurance. You, too, will soon begin to feel well again!

-  Written by Dr. Genevieve Griffin, PT, DPT, OCS, GCFP

 About Dr. Genevieve Griffin, PT, DPT, OCS, GCFP

Genny is the owner of Loudoun Physical Therapy.  She graduated from Shenandoah University in 1993 with a Master of Physical Therapy degree and later returned to earn her Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree in 2004. Since then, she has become a Board Certified Orthopedic Specialist, a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner, and has also received her certification in Trigger Point Dry Needling and a Private Practice Management Certificate. Genny has taken advanced training in Pilates for Rehabilitation and Physical Mind Mat and Apparatus Concentration programs. She also has extensive Manual Therapy, Myofascial Release, Cranial-Sacral and Osteopathic-Based advanced training. In her spare time, Holly enjoys spending time with her husband, Zane, and their dogs, Ruger and Hoyt, as well as skiing, hiking, and biking. She also enjoys cooking international dishes, especially Persian dishes. Genny wishes to one day take dance lessons at Arthur Murray with her husband, Michael, "to prove he doesn't have two left feet".

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