Physiotherapy Role In The Management Of Asthma

Asthma is a most common respiratory chronic disease that affects millions of people in different part of the world. It is a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which is characterized by narrowing of bronchial airways, reversible expiratory airflow obstruction, and spasm of the respiratory tract. Asthma has been known to severely affect a person’s quality of life as well as their physical activity. It is a chronic disease which requires treatment and management. The lining of the bronchial tube swells up when a person suffers an asthmatic attack making it difficult for them to breathe.

Although a cure is not known but medication and physiotherapy treatment has proven to be effective in managing and controlling its symptoms. Many inhalers will use muscle relaxing medication to counteract this effect, and while there is no substitute for medication, physiotherapy can help reduce the severity and frequency of the attacks, as well as the dose required to treat them.

Physical therapy in the management of asthma is targeted to control the symptoms of asthma and prevent further aggravation, remove excess sputum and maintain a normal breathing pattern, prevent occurrence of asthmatic attack and keep pulmonary function as normal as possible. Some of the management techniques involve:

Breathing Retraining

Breathing techniques is more beneficial on mild – moderate asthma. The aim of breathing retraining is to normalise breathing patterns by stabilising respiratory rate and increasing expiratory airflow. Instructions are given from the physiotherapist on how to complete this techniqueand some of the components to look out for include decreasing breaths taken (Reducing Respiratory Rate) and taking smaller breaths (Reducing Tidal Volume)

Physical Training

Physical training with asthma is advised when taking the proper precautions and should not be avoided. Physical trainings are prescribed by physiotherapists for asthmatics to increase fitness and cardiorespiraotory performance reduce symptoms such as breathlessness and improve quality of life. Although breathlessness, chest tightness and wheezing can occur when exercising, deterring patients from physical exertion, it has been shown that maintaining physical training in asthmatics improves disease symptoms and quality of life, therefore making it a crucial management strategy.

Removal of Secretions

Specific physiotherapy maneuvers may facilitate the collection of mucus also, sputum induction through physiotherapy maneuvers is safe in well-controlled asthmatic, and this enables physical therapists to mobilize secretions without causing bronchospasm in patients. Manuevers including percussions, shaking, vibrations, postural drainage and effective coughing.

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