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What is Cardiorespiratory Physiotherapy?

Cardiorespiratory physiotherapy specialises in the prevention, rehabilitation, and adaptation of conditions of the heart and lungs in patients.

These conditions usually manifest in one of or a combination of the following problems:

  • Respiratory failure
  • Lung congestion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain
  • Increased fatigue

Common Conditions:

  • COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Asthma
  • Emphysema
  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchitis
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Chest surgery

Symptoms to watch out for:

  • Cough
  • Wheeze
  • Tachycardia (High heart rate)
  • Bradycardia (Low heart rate)
  • Cyanosis (Blueing of the skin, lips or nails)
  • Swelling
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Increased congestion and coughing up phlegm.

How can physiotherapy help?

Physiotherapy has been shown to be an effective treatment for these conditions. Depending on patient symptoms and needs, the physiotherapist will conduct an assessment and tailor treatment based on their findings.

Treatment may include education; manual therapy of the thoracic spine (upper back) to assist with mobilising and clearing congestion in the lungs; breathing and positioning exercises to maximise lung function; as well as self-management techniques. Self-management will generally include breathing techniques and cardiovascular exercises to help mobilise secretions.