Physical therapy for the heart and lungs is a complex field that can be difficult to understand. There are many different aspects of cardiovascular and pulmonary physical therapy, and in this blog post, we will discuss them. We’ll talk about how these therapies work, what they treat, who needs them, their benefits, drawbacks, and more.
What is Cardiovascular Physical Therapy?
Cardiovascular physical therapy is a type of treatment that focuses on the heart. It consists of different types of exercises designed for strengthening the heart, improving circulation, and reducing tension in the blood vessels.
This type of therapy can help treat a variety of different conditions involving cardiovascular health including coronary artery disease, feeling shortness of breath, chronic chest pain or tightness during exercise, irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), claudication – pain or cramping that occurs when walking due to constricted blood vessels, and more.
What is Pulmonary Physical Therapy?
Pulmonary physical therapy is a kind of treatment that focuses on the lungs. It consists of different exercises that focus on strengthening the muscles used in breathing (such as the diaphragm), improving endurance for exercise, reducing fatigue after exertion, and increasing lung capacity.
It can help treat a variety of different conditions involving pulmonary health including shortness of breath or fatigue, chronic coughing and wheezing, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), breathing problems during exercise such as asthma or emphysema and cystic fibrosis.
Who Needs Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy?
Cardiovascular physical therapy is often used for people with cardiovascular diseases that can be managed through exercise. Pulmonary physical therapy is for those who are often short of breath, have difficulty breathing after physical activity, or are experiencing fatigue.
There are a lot of beneficiaries of this type of PT that benefit from a hybrid of both cardiovascular and pulmonary physical therapy.
This includes people who may have undergone open-heart surgery, people with chronic lung diseases such as asthma or COPD, those recovering from a heart attack or stroke that have developed breathing problems, athletes recovering from an injury to the ribs that limits their ability to take deep breaths without pain, and more.
How Long Does it Last?
Cardiovascular and pulmonary PT can often be short-term treatments that are done over the course of a few months. They can also be long-term treatment plans that last for years, depending on your individual needs and goals.
For someone who has just recently had open-heart surgery, treatment may only last for a few weeks or months in order to ensure that they are able to get enough exercise.
For someone with COPD or chronic bronchitis, treatment can take place over the course of several months or years and is usually done in conjunction with other lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, reducing stress levels, and improving diet. Similarly, athletes may go through ongoing PT so as to maintain optimum fitness and performance.
What are the Benefits of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy?
Cardiovascular physical therapy can benefit a lot of people due to its ability to strengthen the heart muscles, improve circulation, reduce angina pain or tightness after exercise – especially shortness of breath at rest or during exertion such as climbing stairs, increase endurance and lung capacity, and improve overall cardiovascular fitness.
Pulmonary physical therapy can benefit those who are often short of breath or have difficulty breathing after exercise because it strengthens the muscles used while breathing. It also gives people more energy during their normal daily activities which means they need less rest, can spend more time with their families, and have a higher quality of life.
What is Involved in Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy?
During cardiovascular physical therapy, exercises are done to strengthen the heart muscles as well as improve circulation and endurance while reducing fatigue. In addition, your therapist may use electrical stimulation or ice packs on the skin overlying the heart to reduce pain and discomfort.
Pulmonary physical therapy can involve a variety of different modalities including breathing exercises, chest percussion (a technique that loosens mucus in the lungs), manual therapies such as trigger point or myofascial release, which helps break up scar tissue around muscles, massage that targets specific areas such as where it hurts, and more.
Tips for Success
Cardiovascular and pulmonary PT are usually safe, but it’s important to remember that there may be times where there is some risk involved. For example, when working out, there are always risks of pulling muscles, falling, or other injuries.
Always make sure to practice good form and don’t overdo it. Also, if you’re receiving any kind of treatment for your lungs such as breathing therapy or chest percussion (which can be uncomfortable), make sure to communicate with your therapist beforehand and let them know how much pressure is okay for you.
It’s important to make your physical therapist aware of any medications you are taking or other conditions that you have. Especially if you are taking pain medication or have a history of musculoskeletal conditions such as chronic back pain or osteoporosis.
Always listen to your body. If what you are doing feels too strenuous, speak up and let your therapist know. It’s not worth injuring yourself. Keep in mind that it’s also common for those who have been inactive for some time to feel extremely sore after just one workout even if they use good form.
Where to Find a Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapist
If you’re interested in cardiovascular or pulmonary physical therapy, but don’t know a doctor that offers this service, give your primary care physician a call.
They can usually refer you to someone who specializes in these areas as well as help with any questions or concerns you may have. In addition, many online directories are there to help make the search process a lot easier.
Now that you know more about cardiovascular and pulmonary physical therapy, you can start looking for a therapist.
Cardiovascular and pulmonary physical therapy can be an effective way to increase strength, improve circulation or ease breathing difficulties. If you are interested in these types of treatments, make sure to start the search process as soon as possible!