Pulmonary Physiotherapy also known as Respiratory Physiotherapy is the term used to describe the job of a specialist physiotherapist who helps treat, educate and advise patients who have problems with their lungs and their breathing.
It is indicated in respiratory conditions like
- Post covid sequalae
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Chronic bronchitis
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Interstitial lung disease
- Post thoracic surgery
- Post abdominal surgery
Scope of services in Pulmonary Physiotherapy
- Chest Physiotherapy
- Pulmonary Rehabilitation.
It is the term for a group of treatments designed to improve respiratory efficiency, promote expansion of the lungs, strengthen respiratory muscles and eliminate secretions from the respiratory system.
The purpose of chest physiotherapy is to help patients breathe more freely and to get more oxygen into the body.
The following techniques are all part of chest physiotherapy.
- Turning from side to side permits lung expansion
- Coughing and Huffing for secretion removal
- Deep breathing exercises for muscle recruitment and expansion of lungs
- Postural drainage
- Percussion and Vibration for facilitating airway clearance
- Positive expiratory pressure (PEP) devices are used for enhanced airway clearance.
Eg: Flutter, Acapella
It is an evidence based multidisciplinary and comprehensive intervention for patients with lung disease who are symptomatic and often have decreased daily life activities.
The aims of Pulmonary Rehabilitation are to reduce the symptoms and disability for people with lung disease and the overall goal being optimizing their functional status.
Components of Pulmonary Rehabilitation
- Exercise training.
- Inspiratory muscle training.
- Psychosocial counseling.
- Nutritional evaluation and counseling.
- Patient and family Education
Benefits of Pulmonary Rehabilitation
- Improved exercise capacity
- Improved health related Quality of life
- Reduced incidence of hospitalization and length of stay
- Reduced perceived intensity of breathlessness
- Improved psychological well being
- Increased survival
- Benefits extend beyond period of Pulmonary Rehab if training is maintained at home
Exercise is the cornerstone of pulmonary rehabilitation programs. Although, exercise training does not directly improve lung function, it causes several physiological adaptations which can improve physical condition.
There are three basic types of exercises to be considered.
- Aerobic exercise tends to improve the body's ability to use oxygen by decreasing the heart rate and blood pressure.
- Strengthening or resistance exercises can help build strength in the respiratory muscles.
- Stretching and flexibility exercises can enhance breathing coordination.