Without our lungs, it would be impossible to breathe. People suffering from chronic lung diseases have compromised lung functioning. This leads to shortness of breath, fatigue and weakness. In turn, this can make the person avoid anything that exerts the lungs such as exercise. While this may seem like a good idea, it is actually detrimental. Not exercising can further weaken the lungs and muscles and make this a vicious cycle. This is where physiotherapy can help with lung rehabilitation or pulmonary rehabilitation.
Physiotherapy is a branch of medicine that treats diseases and health conditions with exercise and manual therapy. Physiotherapists may also use radiation, sound waves, electric therapy, prosthesis and assistive devices. The aim here is not to cure the disease but to improve lung functioning and the patient’s quality of life. Pulmonary rehabilitation can help in a number of ways.
- It reduces breathlessness: As the lung muscles weaken, their ability to pump oxygen and transport it to the other parts of the body reduces. This can make a person feel breathless even with the slightest exertion. Lung rehabilitation works on strengthening the lung muscles to reduce this breathlessness.
- It increases muscle strength in the arms and legs: When oxygen does not reach the limbs, they, in turn, get weaker. By strengthening the lungs, lung rehabilitation increases the muscle strength in the patient’s arms and legs.
- It increases stamina and endurance: Stamina is directly linked to lung functioning. By helping the patient breathe more comfortably, lung rehabilitation increases the patient’s stamina and helps him or her endure more physical exercise.
- It helps patients understand your condition: Physiotherapy is part exercise and part education. By helping patients get an insight into their condition, physiotherapy helps them come to terms with their limitations and motivates them to work harder towards overcoming them.
- It increases self-confidence: Feeling breathless and tired all the time can make people feel frustrated. This is especially so because these things cannot be controlled without help. Physiotherapy teaches patients how to deal with these issues and thus increases their confidence in dealing with their medical issues.
- It makes patients more independent: A lack of energy can make people dependent on others. Even simple tasks like getting a bottle of water from the fridge can seem like a tiring task. Physiotherapy improves lung functioning and hence makes the person feel less tired doing everyday tasks. This makes the person more independent and improves their quality of life.
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