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Aquatic physiotherapy and shoulder rehabilitation for rotator cuff injuries.

  • Source: Aqualines: The Journal of the Hydrotherapy Association of Chartered Physiotherapists . 2012, Vol. 24 Issue 2, p6-16. 11p. 6 Charts.
  • Author(s): Wagner, Deborah
  • Abstract: Purpose: To perform a search of literature to identify evidence that exists to support the effective use of aquatic physiotherapy as a treatment technique for rotator cuff injuries. Background: One of the most common causes of pain and disability in the shoulder is the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff contributes to glenohumeral movement and functions as a dynamic stabiliser of the shoulder joint, supporting the capsule and preventing excessive anterior and posterior shearing. Aquatic physiotherapy is one of several treatment methods used for shoulder rehabilitation following rotator cuff injuries. It is believed that the warm water and buoyancy facilitates shoulder mobility, reduces pain and improves scapulohumeral rhythm. Method: A literature review of online databases was conducted to evaluate available research for the use of aquatic physiotherapy as a treatment technique for rotator cuff injuries. Results: no double blinded randomized controlled trials, one case study, one feasibility study, one pilot study, one literature review and four clinical opinions. Conclusion: The findings suggest that there is some evidence to support the use of aquatic physiotherapy for treatment of rotator cuff injuries however this conclusion has been based on studies of lower scientific merit. There is a definite need for further study within the area of aquatic physiotherapy and shoulder rehabilitation for rotator cuff injuries.
  • Copyright of Aqualines: The Journal of the Hydrotherapy Association of Chartered Physiotherapists is the property of Aquatic Therapy Association of Chartered Physiotherapists and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract.

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Wonder girl

Dear Andrea,

I took your Musculo Primer class in Eden Prairie last Summer with the people from Hong Kong. I am wondering if you can send/forward me a sample of one of your daily PT notes for pool therapy. We are getting more pool referrals from MDs and I am putting what I learned from your class to use :) but wanted to see an example or template for daily notes, especially to ensure I'm documenting all the correct things for reimbursement. I am hoping to take another of your courses in the upcoming year!  Thanks, Sarah L, Northfield, MN

Dear Sarah,

Thank you so much for the kind words. We are delighted to hear that your business is prospering. To that end, I have attached some samples to use for documentation. I am also enclosing library language that you are free to use in your assessments to justify aquatic therapy.

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Posted by on in Equipment

Therapy equipmentGrand Opening coming up? Starting a new aquatic practice? Here is a list of our recommended items to consider for your Aquatic Therapy Equipment Starter Kit. All prices reflect our current listings on and are subject to change without notice. Things to think about before ordering for your facility include pool size, max concurrent sessions, patient census and budget.

Sprint Minimum Resistance Bells, Min Resistance (#729) (1 set at $26.20)

Sprint AquaSprinter Belt (#700) (1 large @ $29.50) (for positioning on back)

Sprint BodyFit Collar (#707) (1 @ $29.99)

Sprint Velcro Neoprene Gloves (#783) (1 medium @ $14.95)

Sprint Velcro Neoprene Gloves (#783) (1 xtra large @ $14.95)

Sprint Dive Sticks (#199) (2 sets @ $7.10) (for fine motor manipulation during gross motor acts in pool)

Sprint Egg Flipps (#158) (3 sets @ $8.75) (for oral motor training and respiratory challenges)

Sprint Flow Through Mat Small (#704) (1 @ $55.00) (for UE weight bearing, prone positioning and more)
Polyspots (2 sets of 6 @ $26.60)

AquaLogix Bells (1 set of large @ $94.40)

Kiefer Adjustable Foam Swim Collar (#620009) (1 @ $50.00)

Tagged in: equipment
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Posted by on in ATU

andrea salzman aquatic therapy queen mumHi Musculoskeletals,

My name is Andrea Salzman and I am the instructor for your upcoming aquatics course. I am very much looking forward to meeting (and remeeting!) all of you August 19-20 for “Water-Based Interventions for the Musculoskeletal Client".

Dress in comfortable layers for the classroom so you can adjust your temperature for personal comfort. I always think it's slightly warm (presenting) but everyone has their own thermostat.

You are going to love the class. Plan on being exhausted and excited about your chosen occupations once again…


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Really? Aquatic therapy as a promising treatment for the cardiopulmonary client? So many therapists are still leery of working with the cardiopulmonary-compromised patient in the pool. We get questions like this all the time: Is full body immersion even safe for the congestive heart? Won't the emphysema patient experience a tremendous increase in the work of breathing? What about the rumors that vertical immersion increases arrhythmias for the post-MI patient?

We will conquer all the hesitations... and make an evidence-based case FOR both the safety and effectiveness of treating these at-risk populations in the water. Learn the latest treatments with us at our upcoming Justifiable Aquatic Therapy Strategies for the Client with Cardiopulmonary Compromise class in Phoenix next week.


Here are some of the things we will be teaching:

  • forced expiration through tubing for respiratory training
  • yoga postures for unsupported upper extremity work (key for pulmonary rehab),
  • pilates core work for postural correction,
  • plyometric training of the muscles of ambulation (key for cardiac rehab), and more.


Learn More

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You've heard every rationale in the book from payers who want to discontinue aquatic therapy.

--"It's not functional; people don't live in the water"

--"6-8 visits to teach the exercises, then an immediate transition to land"

--"You don't need a skilled therapist to teach water aerobics." (my personal favorite)

So, when the day comes when a gorgeous piece of literature comes out which makes the case for aquatic therapy -- and that case is not just (unequivocally) pro-aquatic therapy, but pro-starting-as-early-as-4-days-post-op, well, it's time to celebrate.

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