Respiratory physiotherapy refers to the exercises and techniques we use to facilitate patients with chronic respiratory problems. It is known that patients with chronic respiratory diseases face severe breathing problems, even when trying to make small and easy movements. In addition to the stress of success that overpowers them in every effort, we can easily understand not only the physical but also the psychological condition in which they face.
Respiratory Physiotherapy Goals:
There are mainly three (3) goals for Respiratory Physiotherapy:
1) Improvement of pulmonary ventilation
2) Increased resistance in patients with reduced respiratory capacity
3) The clearance of bronchial passage
Respiratory physiotherapy – Techniques
The therapist is asked to apply the techniques of respiratory physiotherapy in daily clinical practice, knowing that:
A) There is ‘Scientific evidence’ for the effectiveness and improvement techniques by pulmonary ventilation and the reduction of respiratory project research.
B) For the treatment of bronchial techniques- because all instruments for measuring bronchial clearance are not sufficient- the effectiveness of the techniques are questioned scientifically.
The decision on the choice of technique chosen by the physiotherapist depends on many factors such as patient history, clinical picture, laboratory testing, the time available and the ability of the patient but mainly is based on the goal we want to achieve at that particular moment for that patient.
It is important for the physiotherapist to know whether the technique which he decides to implement is more efficient, costs less time and money, as well as more understandable and easily implemented by the patient himself, for the long term use.
Most techniques used during physical therapy, achieve not only one goal (eg bronchial cleaning), but two or more (eg bronchial cleansing and increased lung volume simultaneously).
These techniques are:
- Correct patient placement to the appropriate position.
With the proper position of the patient from supine to sitting and gradually to standing position, the lung volume capacity is increased, and as a result the flow of “oxygen” to the body airways changes.
- Exercises for controlled breathing
We teach the thoracic breathing, abdominal breathing and a combination of both. In this way we achieve synchronization of the movements of the chest and abdomen, increasing lung capacity and reducing the dead space.
- Application of positive airway pressure in the body
This treatment is applied using various oxygen devices and achieves a temporary increase in lung capacity and improved oxygen exchange.
- Strengthening of the respiratory muscles
To strengthen the respiratory muscles, the intensity of exercise should be large enough to achieve a result, the duration should reach 30 minutes and the frequency should be up to 3 times a week.
- Bronchial drainage with gravity and handling
Using gravity we can have small effects on bronchial clearance, while we get much better results when we apply vibrations and hit the back and the chest of the patient who in turn are placed in various positions.
- Forced exhalation technique
By Coughing we remove foreign bodies or mucus from the upper airways. So in cases where the patient cannot cough, we adopt special techniques such as shortness of breath combined with vibration shock, help the bronchial passage to clear.
- Autogenous drainage
It is the combination of abdominal breathing along with chest expansion exercises that improves bronchial clearance and lung cleansing