Pulmonary rehabilitation before your lung disease gets severe

Pulmonary rehabilitation is used as a treatment form for people suffering from lung disease in Physical therapy. It includes the use of exercise, education and behavioral intervention to improve the daily function of people suffering from a chronic lung disorder. The main goal behind this treatment is one should achieve and maintain a level of independence and functioning. You will be taught to perform exercises with shortness of breath.

A group setting is offered where you come to meet people with similar conditions. This will help you to give and receive peer support and can motivate you to perform the activity for better positive results. Overall knowledge and skills you learned in the program will help you feel better and manage your chronic lung disease. Slowly and gradually, you will become stronger by raising your level of fitness. When you focus on exercising your lungs and muscles, it helps you be more active and do all your particular activities.

Pulmonary rehabilitation process

Programs can be conducted in a person’s home or an outpatient setting. People with less critical disease may benefit from a decrease in shortness of breath and an increase in the ability to exercise. The most successful programs are provided by a physical therapist, a nurse, a psychologist, and a dietician working together as a rehabilitation team to coordinate complex medical services. The time duration of such programs can be up to 8-12 weeks. Yet, the techniques learned during the program should be practiced at home after the program. By this, you can make your improvement stable.

Oxygen therapy and chest physical therapy that is part of supportive respiratory therapy can be used in conjunction with pulmonary rehabilitation. The quality of life is improved by:

  • Reduced shortness of breath.
  • Improving exercise tolerance.
  • Promoting a sense of wellbeing.
  • Decreasing the number of hospitalizations.


There are several components in pulmonary rehabilitation. Let us see a few below:

Inspiratory muscle training

It is called IMT, and in this kind of training, a person uses breathing exercises and devices to strengthen the muscles involved in breathing. It is usually used together with traditional aerobic exercise and helps turn down shortness of breath and expand its ability to exercise.

Exercise training

This is one of the essential components of pulmonary rehabilitation. It helps reduce the effects of inactivity and deconditioning, which increase your ability to exercise and reduce shortness of breath. Still, in some cases, physical limitations might restrict the type of exercise and training used. Aerobic exercise and strength training are both critical components of exercise training in people with lung disorders. The cornerstone of training is leg exercise, as we know that walking is necessary for most daily activities. Rehabilitation programs use walking as a preferred mode of training. You can also do this walking on a treadmill or can do bicycling as well. It depends on the comfortability and your long-term willingness to follow the same mode of exercise.

Training of your arms has also proved to be beneficial for people suffering from lung disease. They even feel shortness of breath or other symptoms during normal routine activities like washing hair or even shaving. For them, such training is needed, as chronic lung disease can cause muscle loss, and some of the shoulder muscles are used in breathing and moving the arms. Activities involving arm work can quickly overexert these muscles.  Activities involving arm work can quickly overexert these muscles.

Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES)

NMES can be fruitful in people with acute lung or heart disease because it does not cause the shortness of breath that often holds back these people from participating in regular exercise training. Neuromuscular electrical stimulation uses a device that applies electrical impulses through the skin to selected muscles to revive contraction and strengthen them.

Psychological counselling

Shortness of breath may cause anxiety and depression, interfere with sexual activity, and cause difficulty in managing stress and relaxing. Depression and anxiety are found as common reactions in a person with lung disease. Through counselling, group therapy, and, when needed, drug treatment can help people with the most severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Pulmonary rehabilitation programs help people avoid weight loss and maintain muscle mass. People must be taught to eat to keep adequate caloric intake while avoiding becoming too full, which can interfere with breathing. Better cope with these psychosocial problems.

Nutritional evaluation and counselling

People suffering from lung disease often need a good amount of nutritional evaluation and counselling. Those with the most severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease often experience weight loss. Pulmonary rehabilitation programs help people avoid weight loss and maintain muscle mass. People must be taught to eat to keep adequate caloric intake while avoiding becoming too full, which can interfere with breathing.

Education, including on paper use of prescribed drugs

If a person is suffering from severe lung disease must be on several drugs. These drugs must be taken according to precise instructions and a complex schedule. Through a rehabilitation program, people can learn about the appropriate timing and doses of all medicines they need.

Pulmonary rehabilitation has few perils. Hardly any physical activity during the program can cause you difficulties, such as damages to your muscles and bones. If severe problems occur during the supervised sessions, your pulmonary rehabilitation team will stop the physical activity right away, give you the suitable treatment, and contact your doctor.


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