Physiotherapy for the lungs
This month brought some very positive developments for me. After three years, numerous applications, translated and notarised documentation – the Spanish authorities have recognised my Physiotherapy title! This means I can legally practice here and gain membership of the Spanish association of physiotherapists. I am over the moon!
So to celebrate I thought I would write, for a change, about one of the trials my team conducted and finished last year.
This study involved a very special population of patients, those with lung cancer about to undergo curative surgery. We wanted to know the effect of starting a physical activity programme early after the surgery and we decided to compare this programme (primarily stationary cycling and walking) beginning the day after surgery and continued at home for 4 weeks, with usual care. We recruited 120 patients to the study and 80 of those were eligible to take part after the surgery and were then randomly assigned to our “Physical Active” group or “Usual Care”. All the patients did well with the surgery and the average length of stay in hospital was only 5 days. Our treatment didn’t make any impact on this measure. In fact, in the group as a whole the exercise intervention didn’t really have a major effect, by 4 weeks both groups were back to their pre-surgery walking distances and their perception of their health was good. Good news for the patients!
But when we looked at our groups a little bit more closely we found that those with an underlying lung condition (as well as the cancer) regained their pre-op levels of exercise earlier if they were in our exercise group compared with usual care.
So the bottom line is – good news if you do unfortunately need surgery for lung cancer- in general you should be pretty well on the mend by 4 weeks just by doing your normal things. But if you also have a lung condition such as asthma or obstructive lung disease (emphysema) you’d do well to get some additional help to exercise and get you back to fighting fitness.
Effect of postoperative physical training on activity after curative surgery for non-small cell lung cancer: a multicentre randomised controlled trial.
Physiotherapy. 2014 Jun;100(2):100-7. doi: 10.1016/j.physio.2013.12.002. Epub 2014 Feb 12.
If you want help to regain your physical activity after surgery or an illness, please get in touch. And don’t forget January is the time to really get to grips with stopping smoking! firstname.lastname@example.org +34 652 281 122
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