What else can physiotherapy do?
Depending on your condition and main problems, physiotherapy may offer a number of other treatments. These may occur on the hospital ward while you are in hospital or, as an outpatient, if you are at home. A thorough assessment by your physiotherapist when you are diagnosed with COPD, and then at regular intervals, will help determine your main problems and the best treatment to assist with these.
Physiotherapy may involve breathing exercises, airway clearance techniques and inhalation therapy to help clear phlegm from the airways. This is particularly important for people who commonly experience high volumes of phlegm on a daily basis, or for people who are having trouble clearing their phlegm.
If you have trouble sleeping or breathing at night, your physiotherapist, in conjunction with your respiratory doctor, may prescribe a breathing machine to help you. This could include continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), non-invasive positive pressure (NIV) or bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP).
Physiotherapy may also involve assessment and management of other conditions that can result from, or occur alongside, COPD. These include musculoskeletal problems such as spinal pain, restricted chest wall, ribs or arm movement, or poor posture; osteoporosis; and urinary incontinence (common due to chronic coughing).
Your physiotherapist will help with education about your condition, including how to use your COPD medication devices correctly to ensure you are getting the correct dose and cleaning the device correctly. There are many different types of devices, such as puffers, Turbuhalers, Autohalers and tablet devices, and they each work slightly differently.