Aqua therapy relieves pain for Manhattan surgical patient

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – We’ve all heard the saying, a little water never hurt anyone. Not only is it not hurting Judy Reiners, it’s helping to heal her pain. Within the past year and a half Judy underwent a neck surgery, followed by a back surgery. After the surgeries, Judy’s main goal has been to walk independently again. But the process is slow.

“Things are coming back but there’s no guarantee on when it will come back and I want to be able to walk,” said Reiners.

Several months ago, she turned to therapists at Via Christi in Manhattan who decided to put her in the pool.

“Abbey was able to help her with walking on our treadmill. She was able to work on strengthening up the legs to be able to stand and walk better,” said Brian Howells, Director of Rehab Services at Via Christi Health.

“On land I drag this one foot. So I can mentally see in the water and pick it up. So the water helps train me,” said Judy.

“When she’s using the arm weights that’s really helping to activate her core. It helps with coordination and balance and overall strengthening,” said Abbey Clark, Judy’s Physical Therapist at Via Christi.

“The water really does two things. One the buoyancy of the water decreases the pressure on the joints. So if someone has arthritis in the knee and they have pressure when they walk the buoyancy of the water takes away the pressure on the joint and allows the joint to move better. The second part of that is the resistance of the water provides more strengthening of the muscles.  The muscles have to work harder to get through the water,” said Howells.

First in the water, and then on land, each day Judy is determined to take a new step forward to get to her end goal.

“I feel better physically. I can move my arms better and that’s because of the weights you do in the water.  Walking is hard. I am doing a little better with the cane,” said Judy.

Proving with hard work, determination, and water, she gets closer to walking independently, without a wheelchair or walker every day.

For more information on Aqua Therapy at Via Christi, call 785-587-4235 or visit


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