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Alleviating Pain through Hydrotherapy: Jane’s Story

 Jane was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis twelve years ago at the age of 64.

“First I experienced numbness in my feet and then it progressed to my leg. After seeing a podiatrist at first, he recommended that I see a neurologist,” says Jane.

My right leg is my weak leg and that’s where I experience the pain which is intense cramping,” explains Jane. “I take baclofen, but I’ve found that I can eliminate most of the pain if I do my stretching exercises for my hip flexors.”

Jane has been attending RMMSC’s Hydrotherapy Program with physical therapist, Michele Harrison, for about two years. “The aquatic exercise really helps to lessen my pain considerably. When I don’t go to class, for a week or two, I notice it a lot.”

“I’m able to do certain motions in the water that I can’t do on land.” For example, Jane uses a special resistance device on her feet and moves like she is cross country skiing in the water. “This exercise strengthens my leg and forces me to work through some of that pain.”

“I used to be a runner and I’m not able to do that anymore. I’ve found that hydrotherapy is a great alternative. The water is buoyant so I can get an aerobic workout in water that I can’t get on land. And I’ve been able to strengthen my right leg by doing exercises in the water.”

Hydrotherapy offers a whole range of exercises that people can do – band work to strengthen arms and legs, aerobic exercises such as walking and powerwalking in the water, and the wonderful stretches that we do. Everyone has different focus areas that they are working on, so there are many different pieces of equipment to meet individuals’ abilities and needs.

“Hydrotherapy has been very beneficial for me. The bottom line is that if I don’t go, I have more pain. The motivation for me is that I just feel so much better.”

For more information about the RMMSC’s Hydrotherapy program, visit our website at MSCenter.org/hydro. Volunteers are needed to assist with Hydrotherapy in the Denver area! If you’re interested in helping, please contact Michele Harrison at (720) 273-7461.

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