Respiratory physiotherapy: the treatment for victims of covid-19

It is not necessary to explain the impact that the covid-19 had in our lives since arriving in Brazil in 2020. Until today, however, it is not possible to explain precisely what causes a person to have a more severe experience of the disease, while others suffer with mild symptoms — or even are asymptomatic.

What we do know is that those hospitalized for the most intense version of the infection had to deal with many effects, even months after the virus was neutralized in the body. Neurological sequelae, muscle weakness, body aches, anxiety and panic attacks were some of the most common consequences observed in hospitals.

The most serious, however, are related to the lung, the organ most compromised by Sars-CoV-2. For a better recovery of the organ’s health and physical condition after hospitalization, special care is needed: this is where the respiratory fisioterapy Act.

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What is respiratory physiotherapy?

A respiratory fisioterapy is a specialization focused on the treatment of acute or chronic respiratory disorders, such as pneumonia and asthma, respectively. From pulmonary re-expansion, to clearing the upper and lower airways, pulmonary rehabilitation aims to improve the patient’s quality of life.

Treatment includes global exercises, which work the whole body, strength and resistance training of peripheral muscles and respiratory and aerobic muscles. In addition to manual obstructive techniques, devices such as EPAP are used for lung expansion; flutter, for mobilization of secretions in the lower airways; and Respiron, to improve respiratory conditioning.

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Your role in the recovery from Covid-19

The infection by coronavirus causes viral pneumonia, or inflammation in the lung, which makes gas exchange difficult, causing tiredness and difficulty performing daily activities. The treatment with respiratory fisioterapy begins in the hospital, during hospitalization.

The professional will be responsible for evaluating the condition and identifying the best treatment for the patient, whether using an oxygen catheter or a non-invasive ventilation device (NIV). Both devices help with the quality of breathing, reducing the effort for air to enter and allowing the organ to rest.

With the stability of the frame, the physical therapist will start the functional and breathing exercises, stimulating the lungs and the muscles of the body. Before being discharged, it is still necessary to evaluate possible sequelae, the use of medications (such as bronchodilators, corticosteroids and anticoagulants), to recommend the most appropriate exercises.

One of the most common sequelae is pulmonary fibrosis, which reduces the ventilatory reserve, causing the condition known as “short breath”, in addition to muscle weakness. THE respiratory fisioterapy will be responsible for pulmonary rehabilitation, working on the respiratory, cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems.

home care

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To perform the exercises, professional supervision is required, or prior training with a physical therapist. The patient will undergo an individual assessment of their needs and abilities, since even simple activities require special attention with the monitoring of parameters such as saturation and heart rate, avoiding domestic accidents.

The practitioner will recommend the optimal activities, repetitions, and frequency for recovery, including those that you can do at home on your own. Modalities such as pilates and yoga work on breathing and can help in the treatment, but it is important that the physical therapist gives the endorsement with guidance, according to the patient’s situation.

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