The immediate effect of soft tissue manual therapy intervention on lung function in severe COPD

The immediate effect of soft tissue manual therapy intervention on lung function in severe COPD

In chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), accessory respiratory muscles are recruited as a compensatory adaptation to changes in respiratory mechanics. This results in shortening and overactivation of these and other muscles. Manual therapy is increasingly being investigated as a way to alleviate these changes. The aim of this study was to measure the immediate effect on lung function of a soft tissue manual therapy protocol (STMTP) designed to address changes in the accessory respiratory muscles and their associated structures in patients with severe COPD.

Twelve medically stable patients (n=12) with an existing diagnosis of severe COPD (ten: GOLD Stage III and two: GOLD Stage IV) were included. Residual volume, inspiratory capacity and oxygen saturation (SpO2) were recorded immediately before and after administration of the STMTP. A Student’s t-test was used to determine the effect of the manual therapy intervention (P<0.05).

The mean age of the patients was 62.4 years (range 46-77). Nine were male. Residual volume decreased from 4.5 to 3.9 L (P=0.002), inspiratory capacity increased from 2.0 to 2.1 L (P=0.039) and SpO2 increased from 93% to 96% (P=0.001). A single application of an STMTP appears to have the potential to produce immediate clinically meaningful improvements in lung function in patients with severe and very severe COPD.

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Scott BuxtonResearch article posted by: Scott Buxton

Scott is editor of Physiospot so expect to see his work popping up frequently. Away from the keyboard he is a physiotherapist specialising in geriatrics.

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