Hydrotherapy for GBS rehab and recovery?

    • May 7, 2010 at 6:36 pm

      Has anyone had hydrotherapy in the rehab/recovery process? I would like to know if whirlpool or being in the pool with exercise has helped anyone.

    • Anonymous
      May 8, 2010 at 1:32 am

      I haven’t personally tried it. I have a thing about public pools and I don’t have one in my yard, but, my neuro told me it is the BEST way to build strength. It makes perfect sense too. You work every muscle in your body with zero impact. There is no way you can hurt your body while using your own weight in suspension. That is, if you know how to swim!:D

    • May 8, 2010 at 4:31 pm

      I have a thing about public pools too, but joined our local Y in order to do something positive with myself. I found that the pool is a great way to relax and works all sorts of muscles. At the Y here they have what is called the “lazy river”. A twisty path that has a constant strong current that carries you along. Even swimming with the current is a workout. I have watched the water aerobics classes and decided they are not for me yet. Most Y’s will give you a day pass if you go in for a look-see.

    • Anonymous
      May 8, 2010 at 5:15 pm

      I suppose hydrotherapy might help, if a person has access to a pool.
      But be careful. I was a strong swimmer, swimming up to 75 laps at a time, and there are lots of ways to hurt yourself while swimming. Torn muscles are rather common. And you can overdo, and that’s hard on the heart. Since the pools are chlorinated, watch out for breathing problems and asthma if your lungs are sensitive. It just depends on your present condition, whether or not you’re up to it.

      I’m afraid I might drown, since my reaction time is so diminished nowadays and I can’t trust my balance. I can only hold my breath for a few seconds now, not like before. I get dizzy easily. And I’ve got too many tight ligaments, and the cold water would make matters worse. I’d just end up tearing my ligaments with all the vigor of the motions.

      The one thing that has been helping me for a couple of weeks now is to stretch out my limbs first thing in the morning while in bed under the quilt, while all of my muscles are warm. I stretch every muscle, neck, back, arms and legs–even my ribcage by taking deep breaths and holding them. I just hold each stretch for up to a minute or more, and feel the ligaments resist, then hurt, then slowly stretch out and stop hurting. After 15 minutes of this, I get out of bed, and lo and behold, I can walk without baby steps, and my feet are better coordinated. On the days I don’t do the stretches as much, my feet are worse and my gait is more awkward. So I know that this works…at least for me. Try it.

      I found that the more vigorous exercises, like lying on your back doing leg or arm lifts and knee bends and ankle rotations actually did more harm than good, because repeated rapid movement damaged the tightened muscles and tendons. But these repeated slow stretches accomplished the purpose and were very easy to do, and at the end of them I was without pain, and could move more freely.

    • Anonymous
      May 8, 2010 at 10:36 pm

      I have done water walking for about four years now and I am not at all sure it helps with recovery but it has helped find a relatively painless way to get exercise. I do a half hour a day usually once or twice a week and like it quite a lot. I still cannot move my legs well enough to swim so the water walking is perfect if I don’t overdo it. Jeff

    • Anonymous
      May 9, 2010 at 7:44 am

      I had the chance to use hydrotherapy about the time I was first taking steps with a walker. The pool was at a hospital and was designed for people with injuries, so there was a metal chair attached to an arm that took me from my wheel chair and swiveled and lowered me into the water. I found it to be very good for trying those first balancing exercises and to walk up steps that were submerged in water. As others have said, the pool overcomes any fears of falling and getting hurt. I didn’t have such a fear walking on ground, but I heard of other GBS patients who found that the pool was absolutely essential for them to be able to walk.

      Later on, when I was walking more on my own and could at least struggle to get onto my feet from on the ground, I also started going to a swimming pool. In my case, it wasn’t extra special, but it was different and used different muscles and used them in different ways which I think is always good for rehabilitation (done wisely, of course!).

    • Anonymous
      May 11, 2010 at 11:43 pm

      YES! Part of my rehabilitation, while still in the hospital, was hydrotherapy. Moving in water is easier and is also low impact.

    • Anonymous
      May 13, 2010 at 3:33 am

      I started hydrotherapy when i came home from hospital. i went with a group and had one on one with my therapist. When i was able to drive and i didnt need any assistance with my exercises i would come by myself and do the exercises. they were written down with diagrams. Its been nearly 2 yrs since i was diag with gbs and i am going to the therapy pool 3 times a week. I recommend it to any one. But you need to be assesed by a physio so the exercises suit you. I still cant bend below my knees etc etc but when im in the pool its amazing how flexible i am. Good luck.:)