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A Quick Guide to Get Started With Chest Physiotherapy for a Pain-Free Living

While many people can relate to physiotherapy, chest physiotherapy is less well-known. That's unfortunate because research has shown that chest physiotherapy can assist patients in shortening the amount of time they need to be on mechanical ventilation.

What is chest physiotherapy?

Chest physiotherapy (or CPT) is a form of physiotherapy that improves the passage of air into the lungs by clearing airway secretions such as mucus. It's also known as airway clearing treatment (or ACT). Coughing or puffing alone isn't enough for someone with a chronic health condition to remove mucus from the lungs. Therefore, this form of therapy aids in that natural process.

If you are in or around Alberta and looking to de-stress your chest then it is recommended to opt for physiotherapy in Calgary. It can be effective for people who have the following conditions:

-        Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a disease that affects the lungs.

-        An abscess in the lungs.

-        Bronchiectasis is a disease that affects the lungs (damaged bronchial tubes).

-        Disorders of the nervous system and muscles (i.e., multiple sclerosis or MS).

- Cases of pneumonia.

Why is there a need for CPT?

Although the phrase ‘mucus’ may make you shudder, it is an essential component of a healthy body. Mucous membranes cover the insides of your mouth, nose, throat, sinuses, and lungs, generating mucus to protect and nourish your internal organs. They catch germs and other particles in your air that might make you sick.

When the lungs work properly, cilia (tiny hairs) transport the mucus higher up in the airways. Coughing and clearing your throat are simple ways to get it out of your lungs.

People with chronic illnesses, such as CF, have difficulty pushing mucus up through the airways, resulting in mucus build-up. The mucus, along with all the microorganisms gets lodged in the lungs. There is a higher chance of chest infections and inflammation if you do not take any action to clear the mucus. Chest physiotherapy aids in the removal of mucus and, with it, any hazardous germs that have accumulated.

Techniques of chest physiotherapy.

Through various procedures done by a qualified physiotherapist or even a caregiver in the comfort of their own home, chest physiotherapy can offer efficient airway clearing.

Percussion and postural drainage.

A physiotherapist employs gravity to clear mucus from the lungs using percussion and postural drainage. Before clapping and vibrating your chest, they will reposition your body into one of several possible postures that face your lungs downward. Clapping a couple of minutes (with a cupped palm) followed by 15 seconds of vibrating might be the format (with a flat hand). The mucus goes farther up the airways due to the collision. After that, you will have to cough vigorously enough to expel the mucus from your lungs.

Keep in mind that the person clapping should never touch the spine, breastbone, stomach, lower ribs, or back to avoid damage or distress. Percussion and postural drainage should be done on an empty stomach before or after a meal.

Autogenic drainage.

Autogenic Drainage (AD) is an airway clearing procedure that loosens and transports mucus up and out of the lungs by using regulated breathing with rising lung volumes.

This occurs in three steps, with build-up being cleaned from the outside airways to the middle and central airways. Low volume breaths are useful in the first stage. Medium or tidal breaths are the second stage. The third stage involves taking huge, deep breaths that allow you to cough or bring out mucus. A chest physiotherapist can help you through each step, instructing you on what to expect to feel and hear, as well as when to start coughing.

Positive expiratory pressure devices (PEP).

PEP devices, such as a mask or a portable mouthpiece, help with breathing patterns that clean your lungs. When you breathe in freely, the PEP device creates resistance, but it allows you to breathe freely when you breathe out. You'll need to exhale four times as long as you inhale to break through this obstacle. This helps your mucus to move around while also keeping your airways open.

Oscillating PEP.

This gadget, like normal PEP, provides for a gentle inhale and a firm exhale. On the other hand, A PEP device uses out-breath vibrations (or oscillations) to transport mucus from the peripheral and middle airways to the central airways. You will have to cough or puff after a few out-breaths to empty the mucus from your lungs completely. Depending on the degree of the build-up, each of these PEP sessions (oscillating and non-oscillating) lasts around 20 minutes or 20 breaths.

How will it be conducted?

You can receive chest physiotherapy at a hospital, clinic, long-term care institution, or home. It's usually done several times during the day. Depending on the patient's age, diagnosis, and general health, various approaches may be effective.

Some chest physical therapy techniques necessitate sitting up. Others enable you to lie on your back, side, or stomach, relying on which portion of your lungs requires draining. In rare cases, your head may be lower than your chest. Gravity will help with drainage.

Breathing treatments with a nebulizer can assist open airways or moisten, thin, or break up mucus. If your healthcare provider recommends it, you will breathe a spray containing saline or medicines before your chest PT session. It is vital to know about chest physiotherapy before you visit the clinic. 

Is chest physiotherapy painful?

Your chest physiotherapist will ensure that you are comfortable and relaxed. Physiotherapy for the chest may be tough, especially for weak patients or have long-term ailments. The process will be tailored to your unique needs by your healthcare provider. Your tolerance for chest physiotherapy should improve as you feel better.

What should you expect from chest physiotherapy?

Chest PT is taxing and demanding, but as your health improves, you'll be able to do it more easily. Tell your clinician to adjust the procedures if you feel uncomfortable or weary. Over time, chest physiotherapy can help you breathe easier, increase the amount of oxygen in your blood, and increase your energy levels. For chest physiotherapy, give us a call right now.