World COPD Day 2019: Physiotherapy Treatment For COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD has no known cure, but rehabilitation exercises can help those suffering from this debilitating disease. Specialised physiotherapy can be used to improve the quality of life for COPD patients.

Tavishi Dogra
Written by: Tavishi DograUpdated at: Nov 11, 2019 17:12 IST
World COPD Day 2019: Physiotherapy Treatment For COPD

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases or COPD is a severe disease to cope with. COPD can often limit the activities of the patient due to shortness of breath, its main symptom. The everyday life of someone suffering from COPD can become painful as even seemingly small movements such as climbing stairs or a walk to the grocery store might result in breathlessness. Though not treatable, COPD can be manageable, and the life of a COPD patient can be improved by following some exercise and breathing techniques. This is where physiotherapy comes into the picture. Physiotherapists can help people with COPD by teaching patients breathing techniques and helping exercise and train specific muscles that help with better breathing.

COPD treatment 

Here is how physiotherapy can benefit COPD patients. 

Respiratory muscle training

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Muscle training has been shown to improve muscle function and hence, to improve breathing in patients with respiratory illnesses. Exercises such as resistive training, pressure threshold loading and few others are used to improve muscle function. The duration and intensity of the activities are carefully planned according to the specific needs of the patient.

Breathing techniques

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Breathing techniques, such as pursed-lip breathing and many others, are used by the therapists to help teach patients to maximise the amount of air that reaches their lungs with each breath. Breathing techniques can also help patients learn how to reduce the amount of work required for breathing. Regular practice can help people breathe better and improve their breathing pattern.

Mucus clearing techniques

Mucus is there for a purpose in our body; it traps dirt and dust particles and humidifies the air. However, excess mucus can be a problem for people who are already suffering from breathing problems. Excess mucus can obstruct normal breathing, and mucus clearing techniques can help people with COPD breathe normally. Technologies such as Forced Expiratory Techniques (FET) or Positive Expiratory Pressure Masks (PEP) are used for flushing out excess mucus and help with better drainage.


Trained experts can also provide information and support for better management of COPD and tips to prevent COPD related problems and improve the quality of life in general. Avoiding triggers such as passive smoking and ensuring safe occupational environments can help. Having a healthy diet and lifestyle also plays an essential role in improving the quality of life in general for COPD patients.

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