What is Chest or Respiratory Physiotherapy?
As a part of Physiotherapy University studies in Ireland one component is Respiratory Care. The mechanics of the lungs, along with different conditions that may affect the lungs are studied and examined. A clinical placement in the area of Respiratory Care is carried out by the student under the supervision of a Clinical Tutor.
Goals of Physiotherapy in Respiratory Care:
· To improve lung function and capacity.
· To improve the breathing pattern.
· To help remove secretions or mucus from the lungs by using different manual or breathing techniques.
· To provide exercises to help maintain or improve respiratory function.
Facts About The Respiratory System:
· The respiratory system composes of the airways, the lungs and the muscles involved in respiration.
· On average at rest we take 12-16 breaths per minute.
· The left lung is slightly smaller than the right lung to allow room for the heart.
· The lungs are divided into lobes, 3 lobes on the right lung and 2 on the left.
· The function of the lungs is to remove carbon dioxide from the body and to bring oxygen to the body. This process is known as gas exchange and occurs in the alveoli in the lungs.
· The alveoli are small air sacs in our lungs.
· There are around 480 million alveoli in the human lungs.
· The diaphragm and the intercostal muscles are the main muscles involved in the breathing process to open up through the rib cage on inhalation allowing and creating space for air to enter the lungs and closing the rib cage on exhalation pushing air out of the lungs.
How Does the Corona Virus Impact the Lungs:
COVID-19 causes people to develop a cough and fever and this is a result of the virus reaching the lungs. This causes inflammation in the airways and even into the alveoli the small air sacs. As our body is fighting the virus, the lungs become filled with cells to fight the virus. This in turn causes excess fluid in the lungs and the alveoli filling up with mucus or secretions as a result of the corona virus and as a result are no longer able to do their job as effectively – to remove carbon dioxide from the body and to bring oxygen into the body. This can lead to breathing difficulties, chest pain and a build up of excretions or mucus in the lungs. If the alveoli become overcome with mucus this can lead to respiratory failure and urgent medical attention is required.
How can Chest Physiotherapy Help You?
· Advice regarding positioning and exercises
· Education and instruction on breathing techniques to help improve lung function and remove secretions.
· Help you to build back up to your baseline before becoming ill.
Please check out our Facebook page for our video on some demonstrations on breathing techniques and ways to recover from the COVID-19. Call us on 021-2011159 to book an online consult with our Physiotherapist, Tricia, who can offer you support, guidance and a suitable exercise programme to help you to recover from the virus.