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Archive for June 2016

Respiratory Therapy

Every Breath is Important:

Between 17,000 and 27,000 times a day the average person does this without even thinking about it. It’s an essential action to our very existence. For many people, that little breath can be incredible difficult, if not impossible without assistance from medication or machinery, or gifted respiratory therapists.

Respiratory Therapists work under the direction of primary doctors and in conjunction with nurses and other medical staff. They work with all types of patients, from premature infants whose lungs are not fully developed to the elderly people with advanced lung disease, asthma, sleep apnea, and everything in between.

Patients, who are recovering from extensive surgery, long term illnesses, or chronic diseases like asthma or COPD, may need continuing respiratory therapy once they return home.

There are specific types of equipment that therapists might use, whether in the hospital or at home, to administer oxygen or medicine to the lungs to help the patient breathe easier. Some equipment is as simple as an Incentive Spirometer, which is used to help practice deep breathing and aids in keeping the lungs clear. Some are as complicated as a Ventilator, which mechanically circulates fresh air into the lungs and expels the used air for someone who is unable to breathe on their own.

Despite the pain or fear associated with breathing issues, it’s important to follow the exercises and recommendations of the Respiratory Therapist. Tell them of any pain or problems so they can completely assess the problems and supply the best treatment. Keep in mind; they do anything possible to help a person breathe.

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Managing Pain with Physical Therapy

 

 

Physical Therapy

How each person processes and feels pain is as individual and unique as a fingerprint. Treating that pain also needs to be addressed on an individual basis. There is not one guaranteed cure, but there are a variety of options.

Movement:

With arthritis, certain diseases, or after surgery or an injury, pain can be almost intolerable. It can be a constant, or levels can fluctuate with various movements.  People, however, don’t want to move the affected areas because of that pain. Yet movement is often the key to the healing process.

Opioids:

Opioids are regularly prescribed to reduce pain. These drugs block receptors in the brain and nerves, reducing the pain signal pathway. They can be a useful ally in the short term treatment of post trauma pain. There are some, however, if used over the long term that can become addictive and will not necessarily help the underlying issue that is root cause for the pain. Using opiods and other pain relievers may cause the patient to “feel” better, when, in fact, they are not. The afflicted person could push themselves too hard because they aren’t feeling the pain and, thus, strain or damage the tissue and make the issue worse.

Physical Therapy is a process which can retrain your body to better utilize the muscles around the injured area and relieve the strain and aches, aiding in a more comprehensive recovery. PT focuses on the body’s ability to engage in movement.  Trained and certified Physical Therapists can assess the best exercises, stretches, and strengthening models to use for your specific requirements.  Activity and exercise will help build strength and flexibility, which in turn takes stress off painful joints.

Patience is the Key:

Ideally, when working with a Physical Therapist, the goal is to learn the proper way to exercise and perform the treatments at home. Hot or cold compresses may be recommended to assist in healing and pain relief. It takes time, and the healing process is a gradual one. Having patience will be rewarded with more flexibility, strength, endurance, and a lot less pain.

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