Shortness of breath or dyspnea can be temporary, intermittent or chronic depending on underlying medical conditions. Asthma, obstructions in air passages, heart trouble, cancer, allergies,bronchitis, COPD, emphysema, neuromuscular conditions, pneumonia and pulmonary hypertension are a few of the causes. A doctor examines you thoroughly and recommends lab tests to determine causes before prescribing medication. For patients with severe or even moderate underlying medical conditions, the pharmacological route is the best.
Pharmacological intervention may be accompanied with physiotherapy to bring still greater relief to those affected with shortness of breath. A physiotherapist teaches the patient how to breathe and slow down rate of respiration. A patient learns how to relax, sit right and pace themselves when they walk or exercise. Air is taken in gently and let out slowly in a natural way, the patient taking deeper breaths each time he practices. Patients learn to visualize themselves as being in a relaxed state while engaged in breathing practice.
A few precautionary measures are also taught such as avoiding bending down, eating too much and reducing weight besides remaining in a calm environment. Other techniques taught to patients are practical such as to pull objects, not push them, slide heavy objects instead of lifting them and avoid hot or cold showers. By suitable planning of exercises or day to day activities, onset of dyspnea can be avoided in those most prone to it.
Results show that practical physiotherapy sessions can make a lot of difference to the quality of life of an individual suffering from dyspnea and should be a part of the therapeutic process.