The respiratory system is responsible for gas exchange, the breathing in of oxygen (required for every living cell within the body) and the breathing out of carbon dioxide, the waste product.

Inhalation occurs when the diaphragm contracts to expand the lungs and therefore allows air to enter our lungs.

Oxygen gets transferred from our lungs to our bloodstream, as oxygen enters our bloodstream, carbon dioxide exits the bloodstream back into our lungs.

It then gets expelled with exhalation as the elasticity of the lungs recoil back to resting position. Then the cycle begins again.

Signs and symptoms of respiratory system dysfunction

The respiratory system can be affected when any of these structures experience dysfunction or disease. The following signs and symptoms are common side effects:

  • Coughing
  • Sputum (phlegm that is coughed up from lungs)
  • Shortness of breath or rapid breathing
  • Pain with coughing
  • Reduced exercise capacity
  • Inability to finish sentences

Common respiratory system conditions

Airway dysfunction

  • respiratory systemTumour
  • COPD
  • Asthma
  • Cystic fibrosis

Lung dysfunction

  • Pulmonary oedema
  • Pneumonia
  • Emphysema

Neural disease/dysfunction

  • Parkinson’s syndrome
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Sedatives
  • Stroke

Chest wall dysfunction

  • Obesity
  • Permanent stooped posture

How can we help?

The Physiotherapist’s here at Gen Physio are trained in applying chest physiotherapy to help aid with shortness of breath, increase effectiveness of a cough, and to help clear up any sputum to allow for better gas exchange. Methods employed are listed below:

  • Advice and education on deep breathing exercises to allow for correct rib movement and diaphragm contraction
  • Advice and education on effective cough and cough alternative techniques for effective sputum clearance out of the lungs
  • Assisted cough to assist with hands on treatment for an effective cough
  • Prescription of devices that aid with breathing and to assist in the removal of sputum from the lungs
  • Advice and education for appropriate positions and postures to decrease shortness of breath and assist with sputum clearance
  • Percussions and vibrations. These are manual therapy techniques to aid with sputum clearance
  • Exercise prescription to improve shortness of breath and maximise respiratory system function

What to do next?

Physiotherapists are trained in the management of respiratory conditions and are ‘first contact’ practitioners, which means we do not need a GP referral to come out to you. So, if you or somebody you know is suffering, give us a call at Gen Physio, we have a friendly team of professionals that are dedicated to changing the lives of our clients. All our clinicians are mobile and come to your own home to conduct an examination.

Give us a call on 1800 068 226 to book a consultation today.

Article written by Jenny Gangler 

Jenny is a physiotherapist who holds a degree in Masters of Physiotherapy and Bachelors of Exercise Science. She aims to deliver friendly, empathetic and effective healthcare by building strong professional relationships and ensuring patients goals are continuously met.

Compassionate to improve patient’s quality of life to the best of her ability, she ensures ongoing professional development to provide the most effective treatment within a client-centred plan.

Learn more about Jenny here.

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Gen Physio specialise in the delivery of in home allied health services. Save time travelling by receiving your treatment in the comfort of your own home. Our qualified health professionals are trained to assess, diagnose and treat a range of conditions.

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