Aquatic Therapy: An Alternative to Pain Medication

By John R. Mishock, PT, DPT, DC; Owner of Mishock Physical Therapy & Associates

Aquatic therapy is quickly becoming well known for its amazing effects on decreasing pain, speeding recovery and improving function. Aquatic therapy, or pool therapy, consists of an exercise program that is performed in the water.

The water provides buoyancy and hydrostatic pressure. The buoyancy of the water decreases weight bearing by up to 90% when submerged to neck height. Thus an individual who is unable to support their body weight due to pain, weakness or immobility can walk with minimal support in the pool. The buoyancy of the water also supports weak muscles, enhances flexibility and improves range of motion throughout the body.

Another benefit of aquatic therapy is hydrostatic pressure. Hydrostatic pressure is the force exerted on the immersed body by fluid molecules. Hydrostatic pressure decreases pain and edema, which in turn increases range of motion of the upper and lower extremities. It also increases venous return and circulation by assisting the heart and decreasing blood pooling in extremities.

These aquatic therapy benefits can reduce pain and improve function, thereby reducing the need for the highly addictive narcotic analgesics that are commonly used today.

At Mishock Physical Therapy, Gilbertsville, we have a state-of-the-art aqua therapy pool. This aqua therapy pool is similar to those used in hospitals, rehab clinics, and college and professional sports teams including the Philadelphia Eagles, Flyers, and Phillies.

If you have chronic pain, consult with your physician to see if aquatic therapy would be appropriate for your recovery.

Our staff would welcome the opportunity to help you decrease pain, improve your function, and return you to the highest quality of life possible. We are here to serve you with 6 convenient locations in Skippack, Gilbertsville, Barto, Phoenixville, Limerick and Stowe (Pottstown)! For more information or to make an appointment, call 610-327-2600, email, or visit us online at

New patient scheduling: 610-327-2600