8 must-know Chest Physiotherapy Exercises For COVID at Home
You or your loved one are recently recovered from COVID-19 and caring for yourself or a loved one at home? Who should be cared for at home? How to prevent COVID-19 from the spread at home?
And, more importantly, how to regain your strength at home? Well, Chest Physiotherapy is the way to go. Before jumping to the exercises, let’s have a brief introduction to Chest Physiotherapy.
Chest therapy is a group of techniques that strengthen lungs, improve function, and help you breathe better.
Chest physiotherapy exercises or CPT improves drainage of lung secretions, improve breathing muscles, expands the lungs. Chest PT also keeps the lungs clear to prevent pneumonia. It helps to treat diseases like Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease(COPD).
It is the only method to treat respiratory diseases.
Why is chest physiotherapy performed?
Atelectasis, in which all or some part of your lung collapses. Chest physiotherapy helps loosen and cough up thick and excessive lungs secretin from such conditions:
- Atelectasis, in which all or some part of your lung collapses.
- From Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
- Cystic Fibrosis (a genetic condition) causes excessive and thick mucus to build up in different organs, including the lungs.
- Immobility in which you have low physical activity due to being in a wheelchair.
- Surgery, which includes surgeries that make it difficult to breathe correctly and take a deep breath.
How is chest therapy performed?
Your Chest PT will do it in your home or at a clinic, and it is usually done many times a day. Techniques may vary depending on age, type of treatment, and overall health.
Some Chest physiotherapy Excercises require you to stand up. Some will allow you to lie down. Sometimes your head will be lower than your chest and let gravity do the work.
All below-listed excercises are part of Chest Physiotherapy Excercises for covid-19 at home:
Turning from side to side helps the lungs expand. The patient may turn on his or her own, or the caregiver can help the patient. If the patient is bedridden, turn at a minimum of two hours. Elevate the head of the bed to easy drainage from the lungs.
In this chest physiotherapy exercise, the patient inhales deeply from the nose and exhale in short puffs. Coughing helps to loosen and break secretions so that the mucus can be suctioned out when necessary. The patient repeats this exercise several times a day.
Deep breathing forces improve air circulation in all parts of the lungs and helps expands the lungs.
The patient sits upright, inhales deeply, and exhales the abdomen to force maximum air into the lungs. The patient then contracts the abdomen and exhales. Patients should do these exercises several times a day for short periods.
Postural drainage uses the force of gravity to drain secretions from the smaller airways to the central airway, where they can b suctioned out. The patient remains in head or chest down position for 15 minutes. In addition, postural drainage often uses vibrations and percussions.
Percussion( also called cupping or clapping) involves striking the wall with cupped hands rhythmically. The purpose of this method is to break thick secretions in order to remove them easily. The physiotherapist performs percussion for 2-3 minutes on each lung. Mechanical percussors are also available. Mechanical percussors move on one lobe segment for 5 minutes while the patient coughs and deeply inhales. This method is repeated for every segment of the lobe.
Vibration can be mechanical or manual. The physiotherapist performs this function with his or her hands placed on the patient’s chest by quickly contracting and relaxing arm and shoulder muscles while the patient exhales. Just like percussion, this method also involves breaking the thick secretions. Patients repeat this procedure several times a day for about five exhalations.
Positive Expiratory Pressure(PEP):
PEP therapy is equivalent to standard chest therapy and is extensively tested. It is an airway clearance technique. A mechanical pressure device is applied to the mouth by breathing out with a moderate force through the device’s resistance, and pressure is created in the airways to keep them open. This positive pressure allows the air to reach beneath the mucus and force it into the central airway from which it is suctioned out.
The flutter valve is a hand-held mucus clearing device that provides high-frequency airway oscillations to respiratory pressure. It looks like a pipe containing an inner cone that holds a steel ball covered with a perforated cover. Exhalations through the flutter vibrate the inner airway walls that loosen the secretion.
When do you know you have responded positively to the Chest physiotherapy exercises?
A patient recovered from COVID-19 is considered to have responded positively to the CHest physiotherapy exercises for COVID-19 if the following changes occur:
- The increased amount of mucus secretions.
- Changes in breath sounds.
- Improved x-ray of the chest.
- Increased blood oxygen level.
- Patient’s report.
Is chest physiotherapy beneficial for COVID-19 patients?
Yes, Chest physiotherapy is helpful for COVID-19 patients. You can do exercises at home that help you strengthen your lungs and help regain your normal breathing.
Can you do Chest physiotherapy at home?
You can do a lot of exercises at home, including turning, coughing, cupping, and percussions.
Why is Chest physiotherapy done?
Chest physiotherapy or CPT moves mucus from smaller airways into the central airway to make its removal easier.