Many who are dealing with COPD are often conflicted about taking part in regular activities like exercise. On one hand, getting your heart going and your muscles moving can be good for the brain and the body – study after study affirms this, even for those with COPD. But on the other hand, too much physical exertion has the possibility of being harmful to your lungs and making it harder to breathe. Not much of a trade-off, right?
However, there are solutions to this in the form of physical therapy and physical therapists.
The team at Accredited Home Care offers physical therapy as one service available to clients since the therapy can help in a number of ways.
Although people unfamiliar with modern physical therapy may think of it as a method to soothe injured muscles or learn how to use limbs that may have been damaged due to trauma or stroke, there’s much more to it.
Physical therapy can be used throughout the body to help clients feel better, reduce their pain, and increase their strength and flexibility. When treating COPD, physical therapy can also help the overall ability to breathe better.
The American Lung Association even recommends working with a physical therapist as a way to create and begin an exercise program. He or she can help put together a program that offers the right amount of exercise to get optimal results.
In this case, results can include better endurance, better flexibility, and perhaps other fitness goals.
A physical therapist can not only help create a realistic exercise program but can make recommendations on where to exercise and how best to do so.
This includes avoiding situations like exercising outside on a cold day, which could cause cold air to be inhaled and hurt the lungs.
Beyond suggesting certain exercises, a physical therapist can provide recommendations about ways to exercise effectively, including how to breathe optimally and possibly use supplemental oxygen. A physical therapist should be sure to check with the client’s health provider if oxygen is involved since the provider can help establish a resting flow rate and a physical activity flow rate.
Value of exercise
The Cleveland Clinic offers a variety of online resources for people who want more information about certain conditions such as COPD.
For instance, it describes how stretching, cardiovascular/aerobic, and strengthening exercises can combine to see all sorts of benefits. It can be everything from lower heart rates and improving overall mobility.
People dealing with COPD may also want to focus their efforts on the upper body rather than the lower body. A stronger back and shoulder can be useful for decreasing the pressure from coughs or other aches in the area of respiratory muscles.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, more than 16 million people are currently suffering from COPD. Short for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
COPD actually is a general term that’s used to describe a variety of respiratory and pulmonary diseases that can cause general blockage in the mouth/airway and affect breathing.
Types of COPD can include chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
The CDC believes that more people have this condition, perhaps twice as many as have it now. Many people who may have difficulty breathing were unable to visit a doctor for an official diagnosis for various reasons.
There currently isn’t a cure to eliminate COPD completely, but there are some methods that can be useful to slow or reduce symptoms.
COPD can be caused due to limited lung capacity. In some people, environmental causes may aggravate lung tissue, such as smoking cigarettes.
The most common symptoms of COPD can include frequent wheezing, coughing, or feeling out of breath.
Although some may think of COPD as something that makes breathing a little challenging or makes you cough sometimes, it actually can contribute to the risk of death. It was considered the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. as of 2018.
People with COPD are naturally cautious to avoid situations that could limit their breathing or trigger coughing.
Someone newly diagnosed also may not know where to go for more information about how to live with the condition.
But health care providers and physical therapists can offer a helping hand to find local and national resources that can offer suggestions to clients who might feel overwhelmed, everything from a support group to various medications or other methods that may have some effect on reducing symptoms.
This is a good month to learn more: November is National COPD Awareness Month. It can be an opportunity for providers of various techniques and therapies to share what they could offer clients to improve their overall quality of life.
The official site of the event includes several tools that can be used to educate friends, family, and colleagues, including reading materials for clients, parental info, text and links for social media posts.