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Chronic Bronchitis - What Should You Expect From A Physiotherapist?

Written and reviewed by
MSPT (Master of Physical Therapy)
Physiotherapist, Delhi  •  8 years experience
Chronic Bronchitis - What Should You Expect From A Physiotherapist?

Sputum production and chronic cough for at least three months in a year, consecutively for two years is termed as Chronic Bronchitis. Emphysema and Chronic Bronchitis are different from each other but are covered under the same umbrella COPD, which means Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease and that is because both are diseases related to respiration.

How is Chronic Bronchitis different from Emphysema?
Both of them occur when the airways in the lungs get damaged due to the inflammation of the airways. Emphysema is the result of air sacs break down whereas Chronic Bronchitis is the result of excessive mucus formation and inflammation in the Bronchi. Some people show either of the symptoms while some people show combined symptoms.

Symptoms of Chronic Bronchitis:
The following symptoms are seen in people with Chronic Bronchitis:

  1. Long-term cough
  2. Excessive mucus production
  3. Sudden weight gain
  4. Tight chest
  5. Feeling breathlessness even when you are taking rest

Sometimes, these symptoms will be neglected by many people treating them as symptoms of cold weather, or attributing these symptoms to the presence of too much smoke or fumes around them. But it is always good to consult a doctor if the symptoms persist for a long time.

Physiotherapy and Chronic Bronchitis:
The main goal of your physiotherapy involves exercises that improve tolerance, education, mucus clearance, increase lung volume, reduce exacerbations, and reduce hospitalization.

Exercises that improve tolerance:
Upper and lower limb tolerance training have shown tremendous results in preventing, controlling and managing Chronic Bronchitis. This training helps in airway clearance, reduces airflow obstruction, mucus removal, and increased energy levels.

Postural draining:
Usage of different postures for moving the mucus through the throat and removing it through the mouth. There are different postures used for different patients. It is basically done by placing the affected part at a lower height and the unaffected part comparatively higher.

Autogenic draining:
This technique will help in proper and normal airflow through the bronchi. There will not be any blockage of the airway. Retention of carbon dioxide in the lungs will be reduced, the mucus will be removed and airflow through the airways will improve with this technique.

Percussion:
This technique is used by the physiotherapist along with the postural drainage technique. This is also a technique used for clearing the mucus that got stuck in the airways. Many patients find this technique really useful in mucus removal. In Percussion, the physiotherapist claps on the chest of the patient or on the back of the patients. It depends on how the patient prefers. This gives a relaxing and soothing effect on the patients and helps them release out mucus that got stuck in the airways.

Educating:
Finally, educating the patients about its causes and physiotherapy treatments can help them recover faster. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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