Aquacare is an excellent physical therapy clinic because the therapists are extremely knowledgeable, capable and caring. I highly recommend them. I have been to Aquacare (Lewes, Rte 24 location) to treat two separate issues (shoulder and back). I would not hesitate to go back if the need should arise. The following gives my overall impression and the details of my two experiences. Beware that some may find this long-winded and too detailed! But given what physical therapy can do when done right it is worth making an informed decision. If you read no further know this, it is not a small thing to say that my quality of life has improved since I walked through their door and I am grateful.
Overall: The Aquacare facility I have used is not fancy (although they are planning a remodel and expansion), but that does not matter because what is important is the high quality of their therapists and how much time they spend with you. They always spent as much time as I needed and focused on physical treatments that I responded to, not passive* treatments or devices. After you spend time initially with a therapist at each session you will certainly work with techs doing some of the more routine (but very necessary) exercises that do not require the therapist to be present. I also rigorously did the home therapy programs they suggested. The results for me were dramatically successful. I did not use or need aquatic therapy. My experiences with Aquacare have been overwhelmingly positive. I have benefitted immensely from working with them and I am thankful for their help. Although they have multiple locations, this is not a “big-box” physical therapy clinic. I have been to one of those chains in the past along with one affiliated with a physician’s practice. At the big box PT clinic efficiency was as important as client care, perhaps even more so since the passive methods they pushed are simply not as effective as direct manipulation, stretching and strengthening which is what Aquacare focused on with me. This makes a huge difference that I did not appreciate until I experienced the treatment provided by Aquacare. Treatment for Shoulder: My first experience with Aquacare was to treat adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder). After visiting an orthopedic doctor and getting a cortisone injection (which helped only a small amount) I was told I should do physical therapy. Being new to the area, I chose Aquacare due to the positive online reviews, hours of operation, and location. After an initial consult we set to work. Three times a week at first. They understood the condition (it is not uncommon) and focused on areas that were at the root of the issue for me. Honestly I was a little skeptical at first because they initially focused on my neck and the connection to my shoulder. But they have tremendous experience and the extremely detailed initial evaluation led them to the correct approach. I worked hard both at the clinic and at home. In less than six weeks I had made nearly a full recovery. This is an issue that often takes six months to recover from. After six weeks of PT I went back to the doctor who was extremely impressed with my quick progress as a result of the physical therapy at Aquacare. We did an additional cortisone injection to speed along the final bit of external rotation mobility which I understand is always the last and slowest part to respond for this condition. I do not even think twice about my shoulder anymore, which is a small miracle given the months of pain and limited motion I had. I could not be happier or more thankful for their help rehabilitating it. My primary therapist for this was Robin Sipp but I also worked with the therapists Mark Bogle, Bryan Morgan, and Barbara Fidler. All are excellent. The techs Christie and Jeremy are easygoing and pleasant to work with as well. Treatment for Back/Spine: My second experience with Aquacare involved a chronic lumbar back issue. I have multiple bulging and thinning discs and when it flares up it can be debilitating. It is an issue I have tried to manage for 20+ years. I was not intending to get more therapy for it. My doctor and I had decided that injections were the next step. However, our new insurance company wanted me try PT before authorizing the injections. In the past, PT for my back has had limited success, so my expectations were low. I planned to do the minimal PT and then get the injections. However, after the initial consult the Aquacare therapists were able to determine what I responded well to and focused on that. For me it was primarily spinal extension exercises, initially manipulated by the therapists and then purely through exercise and stretching once the pain was under control. Within just a few weeks I was pain free for the first time in many years. We continued to work on flexibility and strengthening for several more weeks. Although the problem is chronic, the Aquacare PT was so successful, that my doctor and I have decided not do any injections for now. I am hopeful that the path Aquacare has set me on will continue to provide relief and prevent major flare-ups. I continue their suggested program at home. My primary therapist for this treatment was Juliana Spotts. I also worked with therapists Mark Bogle, Barbara Fidler and Robin Sipp. Comment about Dry Needling: For completeness, there was one treatment option that Aquacare and I did not agree on — dry needling. I consider that a passive treatment. A therapist had suggested that it may help reduce pain with my adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder) issue. I looked into it and found that there is no agreement on the effectiveness of the treatment. They recognize that fact and in no way pushed it, but did offer it if my doctor approved. I did not pursue it. My personal take is that dry needling is a placebo effect treatment. Placebo effects are real. It may help some, but it was not something I felt comfortable with. Many others feel differently about it.