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Chest Physiotherapy Methods

Posted by Administrator on 11/15/2014
When an individual has difficult breathing, breaking up and expelling airway secretions, it can be uncomfortable and even life threatening. However, there are a variety of treatment methods used to help these patients breathe easier to enhance quality of life, and lesson the effects of chronic pulmonary conditions. The most at risk population includes the elderly, and patients affected by Cystic Fibrosis, Muscular Dystrophy, and COPD. 

The most common categories of bronchial hygiene treatment include breathing exercises, patient positioning, percussion, and vibration. Each of these has the effect of helping improve lung function, break up secretions, drain, and expel mucus. 

Breathing Exercises - the body, by design, uses breathing and coughing to keep the alveoli clear of mucus. Assisted coughs and deep breathing exercises can be used to help clear the airways and increase lung function. 

Patient Positioning - excellent for patients with limited mobility, turning and positioning the patient can help to expand various areas of the lungs to break mucus free from the alveoli. Additionally, postural drainage can aid in using gravity to drain secretions from the airways. 

Percussive Therapy - this method enlists the aid of a caregiver and includes a gentle, but firm clap to various regions of the back and sides to aid in breaking up pulmonary secretions. Patients are then able to cough up the mucus or suctioning can be employed to remove the secretions. 

Vibratory Therapy - various devices have been designed to assist in creating a vibration that shakes the chest cavity which works much like percussive therapy. Products such as "The Vest," the Flutter Valve, and the Acapella PEP Device use this technique to aid in break up and expulsion of pulmonary secretions.