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Lethbridge woman credits aquatic therapy with overcoming chronic pain

Click to play video 'Lethbridge woman credits swimming pool therapy in overcoming chronic pain' Lethbridge woman credits swimming pool therapy in overcoming chronic pain
February is National Therapeutic Recreation Month. In Alberta, many therapy programs are offered including one in the water. One Lethbridge woman is crediting her time in a local swimming pool with overcoming chronic pain. Joe Scarpelli reports – Feb 3, 2017

February is National Therapeutic Recreation Month and a Lethbridge woman is using the time to speak out about how aquatic therapy has benefited her.

Forty-three years ago, a horse fell on Deb Pahara during a recreational horseback riding accident. Two-and-a-half years ago, she had a full hip replacement and shortly after that, she fell down some concrete stairs.

Amazingly, today, it’s almost like nothing happened.

“There’s just no words for it,” the 56-year-old woman said of her recovery.

Pahara is continuing to recover by participating in an aquatic renewal program run by Alberta Health Services. In just five weeks, she went from taking anti-inflammatory drugs daily, to just once a week.

“I have had one migraine in the last five weeks. Usually, I have four to five a month,” she said

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But what is it about the water?

AHS therapist Shannon Hubbert says it has many proven benefits.

“There’s so many other benefits other than just physical benefits,” Hubbert said. “Increase in calmness and their creativity, increase in sleep patterns, and even their overall happiness and well-being.”

“What a tremendous difference for everything,” Pahara said. “Not just the hip, not just the neck… mobility, sleeping better at night, being able to actually sit at a desk… it’s a great benefit.”

Aquatic renewal for chronic pain is one of many services offered by AHS and has been offered for nearly a year now.

The goal is to use recreation and leisure to improve functions and create a better quality of life for people with illness or disabling conditions.