Monday, July 21, 2008

Float Your Pain Away

A few days away can be predictably wonderful; and, sometimes they bring surprise. I took a few days last week to get into these incredible Colorado mountains with the family; I remember just how great vacation can be. One surprise for me was rediscovering the swimming pool. Growing up on the east coast, I never really learned to swim. In the ocean, you learn to jump a lot and to “ride” waves. Over the years I have pieced together enough of an ability to get into a pool and feel okay. I just am never drawn to swimming pools. Once you know the buoyancy (and wildness) of the ocean, it is hard to be in a pool. You can always tell us “ocean types” in a pool; we just stand around for the most part.

This time, though, I jumped in to play with the grandkids. It felt good, then great. The last time I was in a pool, I was much younger and without the various aches and pains that somehow take up residence in our bodies as the years pass by. After a while, you just get used to them, I suppose. But when I was in the pool for a few minutes, I realized that part of what felt so good was the absence of some of the annoying tugs of gravity.

In my own small way, I have a newfound appreciation for water therapy for the treatment of many conditions, from arthritis to an essential element in stroke recovery. You can achieve a greater range of motion and flexibility, and yet there is enough force to push against to strengthen muscles. Swimming provides one of the best aerobic exercises, too.

If you are in the Denver metro area and have arthritis, or are looking for a safe and encouraging place to get exercise, you are in for a treat if you have not yet discovered the warm water therapy pool at the Easter Seals Colorado headquarters in Lakewood. You will find classes as well as open time to fit your needs and schedule. You can find out more by visiting their website or call (303) 233-1666 for hours of operation.

If you have a diagnosis of arthritis, you know there is no known cure for it per se. There are plenty of treatments that range from natural and everyday techniques to medications. Here are a few tips on handling the pain and discomfort associated with arthritis:
Keep moving. Exercise is considered one of the most powerful tools in preventing and combating some of the effects of arthritis. Try swimming! It creates the least impact on your joints, which is where this disease attacks.
Identify repetitive motions that aggravate your joints and painful areas. Change those behaviors as the ultimate solution. Think ergonomically to adjust your reach, grip, bend or grip.
Use wraps and creams to test their effectiveness. Be sure to see our Ther-All collection of braces and supports. And be sure to try Pain Wizard, an incredibly soothing balm created right here in Colorado.
Cold temperatures also exacerbate symptoms of arthritis. Keep the affected areas warm to ensure optimal circulation.

Please always consult your health care professional before you make any changes to your health care routine.

Post a note here if you have arthritis or know someone who does. What do you do to relieve the pain and discomfort? Do you swim regularly? If so, where? Do you know other warm water pools that are available? If so, where are they? Please share what you know here.

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