Access to Hydrotherapy can be patchy on the NHS. Facilities are not readily available in many locations and it's still seen as an alternative therapy. Despite being proven to help improve symptoms in a wide range of conditions, and even improve patients mental health the treatment is often overlooked in favour of more traditional therapies.
In this article one of our customers, Lesley Earp, who suffered a life changing spinal cord injury, writes about how she fell through the cracks of NHS treatment and how finding the Starfish Hydrotherapy Pool in Chippenham inproved her quality of life.
I suffered a spinal cord injury, C5 and C6, which initially paralysed both legs and my left arm. A cage was placed in my neck to stabilise my spine. I kept collapsing and eventually had a pacemaker inserted, this was the probable cause of my collapse which caused the injury. The physiotherapist at the Royal United Hospital, Bath, was wonderful and he managed to get me up and walking in a month, I was discharged after 7 weeks. Although I was on the waitlist for the Salisbury Spinal Unit I was discharged before a bed became available for me there.
I had been given some physiotherapy in Melksham Hospital but frankly they had no experience with spinal cord injuries and were frightened to deal with me. Finally they refused to treat me unless my doctor gave them a set of parameters to work in – no reply was received from the surgery and treatment ceased!
While waiting in the physiotherapy department in Melksham I had noticed a leaflet about the Starfish Hydrotherapy Pool in Chippenham. I had discussed with them the possibility of swimming, but no one mentioned the availability of this facility.
My neighbour (who also suffers from spinal problems) and I paid a visit to the pool and were made most welcome by the staff who explained the facilities available. The pool was heated to a higher temperature than normal pools and they could produce a tailor made programme of exercises following an assessment of each individuals needs. We duly joined one of the open sessions and thoroughly enjoyed it, both finding it beneficial. I decided that I would take the package including a programme of exercises.
That was nearly two years ago and I am now on my fifth set of exercises. I find that they are so beneficial and have helped me enormously during my recovery period. It is always so reassuring that there is always help on hand, should it be required. Also, if it's noticed that I am not doing the exercises in quite the correct way it is pointed out to me. I am absolutely sure that my weekly session over this period has strengthened my body, in particular my legs, and also helped with balance problems.
I really do not know how I would have managed to exercise and regain some strength if it were not for the Starfish Hydrotherapy pool and the excellent staff.
I have written an article for the Spinal Injuries Association about my difficulty in finding help after my discharge from hospital since the NHS provided very little after care, help or advice. There is no source that appears to have a list of facilities/organisations that can assist those with physical injuries and it was only by chance that I found the Neptune Aquatics pool in Chippenham.
If you'd like to find out more about our open Hydrotherapy sessions at Starfish Hydrotherapy Pool in Chippenham, or Wyvern Hydrotherapy Pool in Weymouth you can find details of how to contact our team here. You can try your first hydrotherapy session for FREE using the code HYDRO2 when booking online.