What Is the Hydrotherapy for Chronic Pain?
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Hydrotherapy for Chronic Pain and its Benefits

Published on Feb 06, 2023 and last reviewed on Jul 07, 2023   -  6 min read


Hydrotherapy can be beneficial in treating chronic pain. It involves the patient being in a heated water pool. Read the article to know more.


Hydrotherapy, commonly known as water therapy, can treat many physical ailments, including chronic pain. Some of the most common forms of water therapy can treat chronic pain and other illnesses or injuries. Hydrotherapy includes hot tubs, cold baths, showers, mineral baths, saltwater baths, and jacuzzis.

What Is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is defined as any pain that lasts longer than three months. It can be continuous, or it may come and go. It is caused by various conditions, such as arthritis (inflammation of the joints), fibromyalgia (widespread muscle pain and tenderness), and certain types of cancer. Chronic pain often impacts a person’s daily activities and leads to depression and anxiety.

What Is the Difference Between Chronic Pain and Acute Pain?

Pain is an unpleasant sensation that can range from mild discomfort to intense agony. In addition, it can be acute or chronic, and each type of pain requires a different approach to treatment. While acute and chronic pain can be debilitating and negatively impact the quality of life, chronic pain differs from acute pain. Acute pain is usually short-term, with a direct cause, such as a cut or sprain. This pain typically resolves itself with time and proper treatment, such as pain medication, ice, and rest. Acute pain usually signals the presence of an injury or illness. Chronic pain is more severe and lasts longer than three months. Persistent aches, fatigue, and lack of energy often characterize chronic pain. It may also be accompanied by depression, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping.

Where Does Chronic Pain Occur?

Chronic pain can occur in different forms and appear across the body. Chronic pain conditions include:

  • Arthritis (joint pain).

  • Back pain and neck pain.

  • Headaches such as migraines.

  • Cancer pain (tumors).

  • Orchialgia (testicular pain).

  • Fibromyalgia (all-over muscle pain).

  • Neurological pain (pain in nerves).

What Are the Causes of Chronic Pain?

Various factors, including age-related changes, diseases, injuries, or other underlying health conditions, can cause chronic pain. Some leading causes include:

  • Traumatic Injury: Chronic pain can occur after a traumatic injury, such as a car accident or a fall. The injury can cause nerve damage that results in long-term pain.

  • Disease Conditions: Certain diseases, such as cancer and arthritis, can cause chronic pain.

  • Neuropathy: Neuropathy is when nerves become damaged and cannot send signals correctly to the brain. It can lead to chronic pain.

  • Inflammation: Inflammation can cause chronic pain due to tissue swelling.

  • Surgery: Surgery can cause chronic pain if it damages nearby nerves or causes scar tissue to form.

  • Stress: Stress can increase inflammation and worsen existing chronic pain conditions.

  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Extreme, prolonged weariness is often associated with chronic pain.

  • Endometriosis: It is a painful condition that occurs when the uterus lining grows outside.

  • Intestinal Cystitis: A chronic disorder characterized by bladder pressure and pain.

  • TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction) Problem: It causes painful clicking and locking of the jaw.

  • Fibromyalgia: Chronic pain in the bones and muscles.

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A group of conditions associated with chronic inflammation in the digestive tract.

What Are the Symptoms of Chronic Pain?

People with chronic pain range from mild to severe; it can be continuous throughout the day or intermittent (can come and go). The people describe their pain in the following ways.

  • Aching (a dull ache).

  • Burning.

  • Throbbing.

  • Shooting.

  • Sneezing.

  • Stinging.

  • Soreness.

  • Stiffness.

Chronic pain can also lead to other symptoms and conditions, such as:

  • Anxiety.

  • Depression.

  • Insomnia (difficulty sleeping).

  • Fatigue (feeling overtired).

  • Mood swings.

How Is Chronic Pain Diagnosed?

Chronic pain can be tricky to diagnose since its symptoms can vary widely from person to person. To properly diagnose chronic pain, the doctor must perform a physical examination and ask questions about underlying symptoms. The physical examination may include testing the range of motion, checking for muscle tenderness, and looking for any signs of inflammation or swelling.

The healthcare provider finds out.

  • What is the location of pain?

  • What is the intensity and duration of the pain?

  • How much does it affect daily activities and work?

  • What makes it worse or better?

  • Whether the patient has stress and anxiety?

What Tests Are Used to Diagnose Chronic Pain?

  • Blood test.

  • Imaging tests (including X-rays and MRI).

  • Electromyography (test to detect muscle activity).

  • Spinal fluid test.

  • Urine test.

What Is Hydrotherapy?

Hydrotherapy is a form of physical therapy that involves the use of water to provide relief and healing to the body. It is a non-invasive treatment method used for centuries to help people with various conditions, including chronic pain. Hydrotherapy is beneficial because it provides comfort and relief from pain without using drugs.

During hydrotherapy, the patient will be placed in warm water and encouraged to relax as the water helps muscles become more relaxed and flexible. Depending on the condition being treated, the patient may perform specific exercises in the pool to help alleviate symptoms such as pain and stiffness. The warmth of the water helps reduce inflammation and reduce pain intensity.

What Are the Four Properties of Water?

Hydrotherapy is an effective way to treat chronic pain. It uses the properties of water to provide physical and mental relief from chronic pain symptoms. The four main properties of water that make hydrotherapy effective are buoyancy, hydrostatic pressure, thermal condition, and hydrodynamic drag forces.

  • Buoyancy: This is the upward force that an object experiences when it is submerged in water. This upward force helps reduce stress on joints and muscles, creating a more comfortable environment for the body.

  • Hydrostatic Pressure: It refers to the pressure of water on the skin's surface. This pressure helps to relieve muscle tension, as well as improve circulation. It also helps to reduce inflammation, which can help manage chronic pain.

  • Thermal Condition: The thermal condition of the water is essential for hydrotherapy. The water should be warm enough to be comfortable but not too hot. Warmer water is typically better for reducing chronic pain, as it relaxes muscles and joints and increases circulation.

  • Hydrodynamic Drag Forces: These refer to the flow of water. This flow helps to massage the body and provides relief from chronic pain. It also helps to promote joint flexibility and mobility, as well as stimulate circulation.

Together, these four properties of water make hydrotherapy a powerful tool for managing chronic pain. By taking advantage of these properties, people can experience relief from chronic pain and lead a more active lifestyle.

What Are the Benefits of Hydrotherapy For Chronic Pain?

  • Hydrotherapy, also known as water therapy, is a type of physical therapy that uses the buoyancy and resistance of water to aid in relieving chronic pain. Hydrotherapy can help improve joint and muscle flexibility and strength, increase circulation, reduce inflammation, and provide pain relief by combining exercises with warm or cold water.

  • The main benefit of hydrotherapy is that it allows patients to exercise in an environment that reduces the risk of injury. Because the water cushions and supports the body, patients can move and exercise without fear of overstressing their joints or muscles. Water's weightlessness also helps reduce gravity’s effects on the body, which helps those with limited mobility to move more freely.

  • Another benefit of hydrotherapy is that the warmth of the water helps to relax tense muscles. As a result, it reduces pressure and improves circulation, relieving chronic pain in patients. Additionally, the pressure of the water can be used to massage sore areas and relieve tension.

  • Finally, hydrotherapy can be an excellent tool for reducing stress and improving mental health. Being in warm water can help to create a calming and soothing atmosphere that can help people to relax. Additionally, having a supportive environment to exercise in can be a great way to boost self-esteem and confidence.

  • Hydrotherapy is a safe and effective form of physical therapy that can provide natural relief from chronic pain. By reducing tension, improving flexibility, increasing circulation, and providing a calming environment, hydrotherapy can be an invaluable tool for those looking for long-term relief.


Hydrotherapy has been proven to be an effective treatment for chronic pain. It is used with other treatments such as medications, physical therapy, and acupuncture (it involves the insertion of thin needles through the skin at strategic points on the body). Combining hydrotherapy treatment can help to provide long-term relief for those who are struggling with chronic pain.

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Last reviewed at:
07 Jul 2023  -  6 min read




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