Using water to heal the body

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As a nurse in the healthcare field, Dover resident Cheryl Short understands the importance of the healing process. This is why she jumped head first into physical and aquatic therapy at Bayhealth after having a total hip replacement this spring. Aquatic therapy at Bayhealth is an effective rehabilitative treatment for a wide range of orthopedic and neurologic diagnoses, including knee and shoulder surgeries, stroke, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and more.

“These services, particularly the aquatic therapy, have been great for me. As a healthcare professional, I know pain can really be a problem for patients,” Short said. The journey of fighting her pain started two years ago when Short, 68, broke her right ankle. Then she began to have back pain followed by pain on her whole right side. Eventually, Short had a total hip replacement. Following a stint in inpatient rehabilitation, Short was referred to Bayhealth Outpatient Rehabilitation, Kent Campus where she spent two days a week doing aquatic therapy and one day a week doing physical therapy. “My goal from the beginning has been to regain my independence, and I’m well on my way thanks to therapy,” Short said.

Short has been working with Physical Therapy Assistant Erina Miller. “Aquatic therapy is beneficial to patients because they’re typically in less pain and are able to move more freely in the water. This allows them to perform things they may otherwise have difficulty doing on land,” Miller said. Tools such as paddles and noodles are used during treatments. “We’re driven to provide a service to help patients heal. Through the unique properties of water, we can help patient’s achieve their maximum functional potential. Patients can achieve improved balance, strength and flexibility, as well as decreased pain sensitivity with aquatic therapy.”

Cheryl Short (left) is pictured with Physical Therapy Assistant Erina Miller at the aquatic pool at Bayhealth Outpatient Rehabilitation, Kent Campus.

Bayhealth’s therapeutic pool at Bayhealth Outpatient Rehabilitation, Kent Campus is equipped with two whirlpool jets, and the temperature is maintained between 90 and 94 degrees Fahrenheit to sooth muscles and promote relaxation. All team members working with aquatic therapy patients at Bayhealth are certified lifeguards.

The experience is certainly helping Short, who has returned to her job as a director of nursing at a local healthcare organization. “I feel so much better. It feels good to get my independence back,” Short said. “I love life too much not to try my hardest to heal my body.”

Aquatic therapy is one of several services available at Bayhealth Outpatient Rehabilitation, Kent Campus. Other therapies include physical, speech, occupational, lymphedema, and pelvic floor dysfunction. For more information, individuals can visit Bayhealth.org/Outpatient-Therapy to learn more about the services offered at Bayhealth.

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