Water turns walking “can’ts” into “cans.”

How many times have you associated the thought of private rooms, an upscale café and bistro, a fully-wired media and library area outfitted with computers, and surround sound movie theatre with a rehabilitation center for seniors?

The concepts are usually linked to upscale resorts. But local skilled nursing facility, Melbourne Terrace Rehabilitation, couples a resort-style atmosphere with healing and recovery.An example of ultimate ambiance matched with restoration is patient John Robert Dickson. His stroke and back pain robbed him. Like many others affected with neurological injury, he lost his ability to walk and function.In and out of therapy for three years, he found no gains. It wasn’t because of lack of effort. He did everything his therapists asked, but couldn’t get walking again. So, he relied on an electronic mobility chair to get around.

He says the pain and a desire to get his life back kept him searching for answers. On a hunch, he asked his doctor if aquatic therapy would give any resolve. His doctor agreed and referred him to pool therapy at Melbourne Terrace Rehabilitation.

John Robert’s guess was spot on. Research shows that aquatic therapy might be the best place to reduce pain and improve walking abilities. But just walking into the pool was not an option for him.  So he was effortlessly helped with a mechanical lift.  That provided an effective way to enter the water and get one-on-one assistance with aquatic-certified therapists.

Once in the water, there was very little impact on his body’s joints, muscles, and bones. In fact, up to 90 percent of body weight can be eliminated by being submerged in water.

Water is a proven place for recuperation. Patients who have difficulty weight bearing on land due to surgery, pain, loss of balance or a neurological condition can be helped with water’s buoyancy and resistance.

Buoyancy or “weightlessness” of the water enables a person with an injury to move in ways not possible on land. Weak muscles are assisted with buoyancy and strong muscles can generate safe improvement.

Because water provides 600 times more resistance than air, strength can be greatly impacted.  In addition, water’s resistance is multi-dimensional and allows strength to improve in all directions.

The effect of water can also reduce pain. Warm water temperatures lead to a reduction of muscle spasms. Surrounding water pressure acts like an ace bandage and can reduce swelling that often accompanies arthritis and injury.  A reduction in joint swelling, along with relaxed muscles, will decrease stiffness and improve the body’s motion.

For John Robert, it meant he could start walking in one of the two pools outfitted with underwater treadmills. He was delighted that he felt no pain in the water. While he was submerged in the pool, an overhead monitor displayed a live recording of his walking patterns.

If need be, that live recording could have been shared with his physician. Ultimately, it’s used by therapists to help cue patients about normal movement patterns.

With therapists and the overhead monitor’s help, John Robert stopped limping and gained normal footsteps.

Now he is back to walking and driving his car.  He even ditched his mobile chair. He says it was a long journey to eventually obtain less pain with walking on land. “Overall, I feel very fortunate to find a place where therapists cared enough to provide what I was looking for,” says John Robert.

Melbourne Terrace Rehabilitation Center at 251 Florida Avenue, Melbourne, offers comprehensive rehabilitative outpatient and inpatient services for short or long term care. MelbourneTerraceRehab.com (321) 725-3990