Respiration is achieved through the mouth, nose, trachea, lungs, and diaphragm. Oxygen enters the respiratory system through the mouth and the nose. The oxygen then passes through the larynx (where speech sounds are produced) and the trachea which is a tube that enters the chest cavity. In the chest cavity, the trachea splits into two smaller tubes called the bronchi. Each bronchus then divides again forming the bronchial tubes. The bronchial tubes lead directly into the lungs where they divide into many smaller tubes which connect to tiny sacs called alveoli. The average adult’s lungs contain about 600 million of these spongy, air-filled sacs that are surrounded by capillaries. The inhaled oxygen passes into the alveoli and then diffuses through the capillaries into the arterial blood. Meanwhile, the waste-rich blood from the veins releases its carbon dioxide into the alveoli. The carbon dioxide follows the same path out of the lungs when you exhale.
The respiratory system can be subdivided into an upper respiratory tract and a lower respiratory tract. The upper respiratory tract includes the nasal passages, pharynx and the larynx, while the lower respiratory tract comprises the trachea (or windpipe), the primary bronchi and lungs.
The common cases requiring physiotherapy includes:
- Cystic fibrosis
- ICU/Bed ridden patients with accumulation of secretions
- Chronic Bronchitis
- Pre and Post surgical cases
- Bronchiectasis, etc.
Respiratory physiotherapy includes:
- Breathing exercises
- Chest PT
- Postural drainage
- Vibration and Shaking
- Percussion (chest clapping)
- Nebulization with bronchodilators.