Aquatic Physiotherapy for Stroke

Effects of aquatic physiotherapy on the improvement of balance and corporal symmetry in stroke survivors

Montagna JC., Santos BC., Loureiro AP., from the Department of Physical Therapy, School of Health and Bioscience, Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná Curitiba, Brazil; Battistuzzo CR. from the Departament of Medicine, Royal Melborne Hospital, University of Melborne Victoria, Melborne, Australia; April 2014



One of the main problems associate with hemiparesis after stroke is the decrease in balance during static and dynamic postures which can highly affect daily life activities.



To assess the effects of aquatic physiotherapy on the balance and quality of life (SS-QoL) of people with post stroke.



Chronic stroke participants received at total 18 individual sessions of aquatic physiotherapy using the principle of Halliwick (2x of 40 minutes per week). The outcomes measured were: Berg Balance scale, Timed up & go test (TUG), Stroke Specific Quality of Life Scale (SS-QoL) and baropodometric analysis. These assessment were performed before and one week after intervention.



Fifteen participants were included in this study. The mean age was 58.5 and 54% was male. After intervention, participants had a significant improvement on their static balance measured by Berg Balance scale and TUG. Dynamic balance had a significant trend of improvement in mediolateral domain with eyes closed and during sit-to-stand. The mobility domain of the SS-QoL questionnaire was significant higher after intervention.



Our results suggest that aquatic physiotherapy using the method of Halliwick can be a useful tool during stroke rehabilitation to improve balance. However, this improvement may not have significant impact of their quality of life.


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