Effects of aquatic physiotherapy versus conventional physical therapy on the risk of fall in the elderly: a randomized clinical trial

Christye Ramos da Silva, Leonardo Farias Rodrigues Magalhães, Fernanda Manaia Gonçalves Chaves, Erica Cardaretti do Nascimento Vieira, Ana Paula Radies Adames, Igor da Silva Diniz Brauns


Objective: To identify whether physiotherapy treatment in water is more effective than the treatment in land environment, aiming at improving the process of physical limitation or functional inability (gait speed, balance, motor abilities) caused by lack of balance in elderly with risk of fall. Methods: Randomized clinical trial, experimental study. The sample was composed of 35 senior individuals of both sexes, with average age of 65. Nineteen people composed the control Group /Conventional Physiotherapy, while the rest composed the experimental Group/Aquatic Physical therapy. Both groups were submitted to twenty sessions of physical therapy, twice a week, for 50 minutes in individual treatment. Aerobic activities were conducted for both groups separately. Exercises using water specific therapy, such as Halliwick rotation control and Bad Ragaz ring method, were used in the aquatic group and in the conventional group, physiotherapeutic techniques were applied, approaching the concepts of proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) and decubitus change training. The following tests were used to measure the risk of fall/balance: Timed Up and Go Test, Sit-to-Stand in 30 seconds and Functional Reach. Results: Both physiotherapeutic interventions, aquatic and conventional, showed to be greatly efficient however aquatic physiotherapy showed certain advantages compared to conventional physical therapy, promoting more beneficial effects in the gait speed, balance, motor abilities and, mainly, in the reduction of the risk of fall.

Keywords: elderly, Halliwick, Bad Ragaz, Physical therapy, aquatic, risk of fall.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.33233/fb.v21i3.3459


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