Physiotherapy For COPD Patients

Posted on: 28 May 2020

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a long-term respiratory illness characterised by coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. The illness is common among smokers and people exposed to smoke, dangerous fumes or severe air pollution. People with asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema may also experience COPD symptoms. Physiotherapy is an effective intervention to help relieve COPD symptoms. Read the excerpt below to learn how COPD patients can benefit from physiotherapy. 

Most COPD patients experience breathing problems. As such, physio exercises for patients with COPD aim at clearing the airway to promote relaxed breathing. If you experience COPD, your first task should be to find a qualified physiotherapist. Your GP may give you a referral. Alternatively, you could conduct some research to identify physiotherapists specialising in COPD rehabilitation in your locality. Senior adults may not have the ability to visit a physiotherapist. As such, they should look for a therapist who provides home visits. 

Once you meet with your therapist, he or she will examine your condition to determine its extent. He or she will conduct some background research to know the history of your illness. Expect some questions to help the professional understand how you have been managing the disease. The physiotherapist will then evaluate your capacity to engage in functional exercises and determine whether it is safe for you to conduct exercises. 

The physiotherapist will create a physio program to help you relieve COPD symptoms. Typically, it includes a goal-setting process. This is a collaborative process involving the patient, the physiotherapist and family members. It describes the exercises you will perform, the frequency of performing these exercises and the expected results. It also details the number of times you will visit the physiotherapist's clinic.

Aerobic exercises such as walking, a short jog, and swimming are effective in helping COPD patients improve their breathing. Your therapist will recommend the amount of time you should spend exercising. People with chronic COPD may begin the program with breathing exercises to help them strengthen their chest muscles. Elderly patients may experience balance problems due to weak muscles or illnesses such as vertigo. If this is the case, the professional will recommend some balance exercises.

Physiotherapy is also available for hospitalised patients who suffer from COPD. The therapist will advise you on suitable sleeping positions that will promote coordinated breathing. Further, he or she will conduct some chest exercises to prevent muscle shrinkage. 

Physio does not provide instant results. Patients must adhere to the program if they want their condition to improve. Over time, it becomes easy to manage your disease. Your dependence on drugs will also be reduced.