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Aquatic Exercise for Pain Management in Older Adults with Osteoarthritis

Jamie Davis, Rhonda Nelson


This literature review focused on the effects of aquatic exercise programs in reducing pain in older adults with osteoarthritis (OA).  Studies were included that involved adults 50 years of age and older with OA. Effects of aquatic exercise programs involving strength, endurance, balance, stretching and aqua jogging on pain in these individuals were examined. Significant outcomes included reduced pain as well as improved motor functioning, reduced body weight, improved self-efficacy and enhanced quality of life.  Based on results, programming recommendations are provided to assist therapists in recognizing how facilities, water temperature, session length, frequency of programs, accessory equipment, education and social support can all contribute to positive outcomes.


aquatics; exercise; older adults; osteoarthritis; pain

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