The Benefits of Aqua Therapy for Spinal Muscular Atrophy

One of the best therapies for individuals with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is aquatic therapy. Since someone with SMA cannot move any of their muscles on their own or use their arms and legs, aquatic therapy is perfect! After my spinal surgery, the best thing that I could do was aquatic therapy. It helped to strengthen my neck and hips. Being weightless in the water allowed me to move my arms and legs in ways that I wouldn’t have been able to do if I wasn’t in the water. I always feel better after swimming, but the therapy pool that was near us closed, and we haven’t been able to find a replacement pool to do therapy.

Whenever my family and I go on vacation for a week, I spend every day in the ocean or pool. When we return, my therapists always say that I am much looser and that I have activated muscles that I have used before, simply because I swam for a week. When we are not on vacation, my family and I like to visit nearby hotels and see if they offer day passes to use their pool. This way, I can work with my parents instead of a therapist in the water to get the stretching that I need, just like I would on vacation.

We’re currently looking for funding or some kind of indoor option for the house that could allow me to do aquatic therapy throughout the year without leaving our house and going out into the cold. I’m prone to getting sick if I am exposed to the cold, let alone after getting wet. I’m hoping that we can find a solution quickly, because I really need therapy to loosen my muscles.

Having my Quantum wheelchair with iLevel® technology is so helpful when I’m at the pool because it makes transferring in and out of the wheelchair so much easier for my parents and for myself. I recline my chair fully and then elevate my wheelchair seat to iLevel. This way, it’s much easier to lift me up or change in the chair. I absolutely love doing aquatic therapy because it gives me a sense of freedom. Being weightless in the water is something that I love to experience and wouldn’t be able to otherwise.

About Sakina Shamsi: Sakina lives in New Jersey with her parents and brother. Although she has spinal muscular atrophy type II, Sakina lives a full and independent lifestyle. She is active in the disability community and enjoys horseback riding, baking and crafting. Click here to learn more about Sakina.