Aquatic Therapy for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy |
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Aquatic Therapy for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
eMediNexus Editorial,  13 March 2020
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Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a rare disorder known to cause progressive loss of motor abilities,for instance walking. Standard treatment for DMD includes physiotherapy.

People with DMDare often unable to perform certain activities on the ground. An aquatic environment is thuspreferredon account of the physical properties of water.Such an environment helps facilitate movements.

A study was conducted to determine the impact of aquatic therapy on non-ambulatory children with DMD. The effect was assessed on a 12-year-old male patient diagnosed with DMD. The patient had not been able to walk for 2 years. The intervention involved exercises focusing on agility in the wheelchair. It began with passive mobilization and exercises to improve the flexibility of the upper and lower limbs and trunk, followed by active exercises for the upper and lower limbs using only the water resistance, followed by respiratory exercises. Finally, the intervention involved training of the function placing a wheelchair inside the pool, the patient was required to touch the chair with immersion level at the xiphoid process.Improvement in agility was noted in moving wheelchair, maintenance of the Egen Classification (EK) scale score, and a decrease in tidal volume (TV), minute volume (MV), and peak cough flow (PCF). The results thus revealedthat aquatic therapy had a positive impact on the patient’s agility in operating the wheelchair.

Warm water enables children with DMD to perform targeted stretches, exercises and function-based and play activities. An aquatic therapy pool enables these children to learn new postures or skills and maintain fitness without causing damage to their joints.Aquatic therapy pools typically work at temperatures of 32-36°C. Systematic reviews haveevaluated aquatic exercise against controls in people with musculoskeletal conditions.Post-intervention improvements in function, quality of life and mental health have been noted with aquatic exercise.

Aquatic exercises thus appear beneficial for patients with DMD.

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