General Practice 2022

Physiotherapy Respiratória: what is it for and how to do it

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Physiotherapy Respiratória: what is it for and how to do it
Physiotherapy Respiratória: what is it for and how to do it

Respiratory physiotherapy is a speci alty of physiotherapy that aims to prevent and treat practically all diseases that affect the respiratory system such as asthma, bronchitis, respiratory failure and tuberculosis, for example. It should always be performed by the physical therapist at home, in the clinic, in the hospital or at work.

Breathing exercises are also essential to improve breathing and mobilize the ventilatory muscles. In addition, respiratory physiotherapy can also be performed in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), even when the patient is intubated, that is, breathing with the help of devices.

How to do respiratory physiotherapy

Some examples of respiratory physiotherapy exercises to increase lung capacity in case of breathing difficulty, for example, are:

  • Lying on your side on an inclined surface, where the legs and feet remain higher than the trunk, which helps to eliminate secretions;
  • Sitting on a chair, hold a ball or bat in front of the body and on the inhale raise the ball above the head and on the exhale, return the ball to the center;
  • Stand up, place your hands in front of you and inhale deeply through your nose while opening your arms horizontally (like Christ the Redeemer) and slowly blow air through your mouth as you bring your arms back in front of your body.

The exercises should be performed slowly, without any rush, and can be repeated about 5 to 10 times. However, the physical therapist can personally indicate which exercises are most suitable for each situation.

Watch the following video and learn how to do breathing exercises at home to strengthen your lungs:

What is respiratory physiotherapy for

This type of physical therapy serves to improve the supply of oxygen to the entire body. The objective will always be to free the airways of secretions and increase the lung's ventilatory capacity, which can be useful after cardiac, thoracic or abdominal surgery to prevent pneumonia and atelectasis, for example.

Some specific examples of cardiorespiratory physiotherapy performance are:

1. Respiratory physiotherapy in pediatrics

Respiratory physiotherapy can be performed even in childhood within pediatrics and neonatology, whenever necessary, as children are also susceptible to the emergence of diseases such as pneumonia and bronchiolitis and respiratory physiotherapy may be indicated to treat these and other diseases in order to improve gas exchange and thus facilitate their breathing.

Respiratory physiotherapy in babies is very important, as the respiratory system is still under development, and gas exchange may be difficult. Thus, physical therapy helps to improve the efficiency of the respiratory process and eliminate secretions. See other alternatives to eliminate the baby's secretions.

2. Outpatient respiratory physiotherapy

Outpatient respiratory physiotherapy is that practiced in clinics, with the aim of treating and providing relief from chronic diseases such as asthma and heart-related diseases. Depending on the doctor's advice, it should be performed 1 or 2 times a week indefinitely, until the individual's respiratory capacity is normalized.

3. Hospital respiratory physiotherapy

Hospital respiratory physiotherapy is that practiced in hospital rooms when the patient is hospitalized and sometimes bedridden.In this case, motor and respiratory physiotherapy is indicated during his hospitalization and even if he does not have any respiratory disease, he should have at least 1 daily session of respiratory physiotherapy as a way to prevent the onset of respiratory diseases and improve lung function.

4. Home respiratory physiotherapy

Respiratory physiotherapy performed at home is indicated for people who have been discharged from the hospital but are still recovering from respiratory disorders or cardiac events, such as a heart attack. This can be performed 1 or 2 times a week, under the guidance of the physiotherapist who works with home care, but the individual should be encouraged to practice respiratory kinesiotherapy exercises daily.

To this end, the physical therapist can use devices that mobilize secretion, fluidize and facilitate its removal, such as the flutter and nebulizer, and indicate the performance of exercises that stimulate forced breathing.

Check out some nebulization options.

Main benefits of respiratory physiotherapy

The main benefits of chest physiotherapy include:

  • Improved gas exchange;
  • More lung expansion;
  • Release of secretions from the lung and airways;
  • Clearance and adequate airway clearance;
  • Decreased length of hospital stay;
  • Facilitates the arrival of oxygen throughout the body;
  • Combating Difficulty Breathing.

Some strategies used to achieve these benefits are postural drainage maneuvers, manual chest pressure, percussion, vibration, vibrocompression, cough facilitation, and upper airway aspiration.

In our podcast, Dr. Mirca Ocanhas clarifies the main doubts about how to strengthen the lung:

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