09 Jul Gravity Got You Down? Try Water!
Putting weight onto a ‘bum’ knee, forcing heaviness onto a diminished joint or placing a load onto an inflamed nerve, can be problematic and painful for many people. But what if you could avoid Earth’s gravitational field? A trip to the moon, which has just 20 percent of our planet’s gravity, would be a therapeutic game-changer. An individual weighing 200 pounds would be the equivalent of 40 pounds in space making load and force less of a burden.
Obviously, it’s not possible to fly to the moon for therapy. But it’s possible to unload body weight here and now on Earth. It’s done in water or in the chamber of an anti-gravity treadmill. Getting into a therapeutic pool past shoulder height can unload as much as 90 percent of weight. And with the latest treadmill technology from NASA, you can decrease 80 percent of load and force.
Unloading body weight opens the doors for positive improvement and walking. Some people think it’s their torn knee cartilage, worn joint surfaces, an impinged nerve or a host of other maladies that keep them from comfortable and safe movement.
Medical experts know the real culprit is mostly weight and gravity. “The field of biomechanics (the relationship between forces and motion in the body) gives us some interesting information about loads that our weight bearing joints undergo. In the hip and the knee, two joints that are commonly affected by arthritis, joint forces are approximately 1.5 times body weight when walking on level ground. This means that when a person weighing 200 pounds is walking along a level sidewalk, the forces on the joint are the same as for a 300-pound person standing still. Other activities place even greater forces on the joints.