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Hospital’s physical therapy service offering treatment with hydrotherapy treadmill

Acute joint stiffness and mobility issues can often hinder those needing physical therapy, making such treatment difficult.

In an effort to help patients who deal with mobility issues and joint stiffness, Merit Health River Region has added a hydrotherapy treadmill.

Designed for rehabilitation and wellness exercise, the state-of-the-art underwater treadmill system utilizes water to decrease joint compression and impact forces while minimizing pain during physical activity, Director of Rehabilitation Services Frances Austin-Archer said.

“In conjunction with a specialized treatment plan implemented by skilled, licensed physical therapists the hydrotherapy treadmill yields maximum functional improvements that carry over into the lives of our patients,” Austin-Archer said.

Patients who utilize the hydrotherapy treadmill must have a physician’s order for physical therapy.

Once ordered, Austin-Archer said, the physical therapist will complete a comprehensive evaluation to determine the best plan to determine the exercises needed for each patient.

Sessions can last anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes depending on a patient’s therapeutic needs with patients working one-on-one with the physical therapist.

Prior to the first therapy session, Austin-Archer said, patients are instructed what to wear, which can be swimwear or workout clothes made with a dry-fit nylon material.

Merit Health River Region has always provided aquatic options for physical therapy patients, Austin-Archer said, but now instead of the aquatic therapy pool, which is no longer provided, the hydrotherapy treadmill is used for rehabilitation patients.

While the hydrotherapy treadmill works for patients with joint stiffness and mobility issues, it has also a successful option for bariatric patients.

“The hydrotherapy treadmill reduces compressive forces on the spine and joints up to 70 percent of the patient’s body weight,  allowing reduced pain during exercising,” Austin-Archer said, adding that reducing pain allows for “greater endurance that may not be accomplished with land-only therapy programs.”

For more information on Merit Health River Region’s rehabilitation services, call 601-883-3500. Merit Health River Region is located at 2100 U.S. 61 North.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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