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Staying in the Swim of Things

Aquatic Therapy Suits Patient’s Needs

Kevin Scott looks like the picture of health.

But a picture doesn’t always tell the whole story.

Kevin, 56, receives aquatic therapy at Sitrin Medical Rehabilitation Center for residual weakness from a stroke that occurred during a medical procedure two years ago.

“In the cold, winter months, my right side really stiffens up,” Kevin says. “There is nothing like the therapy in the warm water to loosen me up and relieve the tingling.”

His therapist, Kurt Pflanz, PTA, said they work together to help Kevin regain strength and flexibility on his right side, and the pool provides the ideal environment.

“The warmth of the water, coupled with the safety of the surrounding osmotic environment, is a draw to those hindered with chronic muscular spasticity and pain,” Pflanz says. “Think of how good standing in a warm shower feels; how it seems to ‘melt’ muscular tension. Now imagine that up to your waist or neck. While the warmth and pressure stimulate circulation, the water also provides pressure at all angles to the muscles and joints, aiding in their release.”

“Exercising in this environment can re-educate the muscles to work properly by easing the pain and enhancing one’s strength to correct the existing deficit. Progression is always individualized according to the patient’s goals and tolerance,” Pflanz said.

Kevin served in the U.S. Army in Desert Storm as a petroleum specialist for four and a half years, seeing combat much of that time. When he came back home to Utica, he suffered from severe PTSD and was not permitted to re-enlist. He then started a successful home improvement business, which he ran for 18 years, until he found out he needed a procedure for his heart. He now works summers at Enchanted Forest, recently receiving a promotion to supervisor.

“Kevin comes to every session giving 100%,” Pflanz says. “He understands the benefits and he is committed and attentive. Kevin’s progress can be attributed to both his aquatic therapy and his motivation to exercise at a local gym.”

Kevin could not say enough about Kurt and the Sitrin staff.

“We established such a bond; I am very comfortable with him. He knows how to encourage me to do more … and I do. We set short- and long-term goals, and he pushes me to reach them. He knows exactly what I need, and he gives me exercises that hit the spot,” he says.

Kevin and his longtime girlfriend, Jeannie Irizarry, said, “Everyone at Sitrin is welcoming and encouraging. It has helped so very much.”

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