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Health Any kind of health issue, alternative medicines, herbal and folk remedies, etc.

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Old 12-21-2015, 09:13 PM
wildturnip Female wildturnip is offline
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Default Deep Breathing Exerciser |

DH wears a back brace contraption that has restricted his breathing somewhat. He has a slightly enlarged heart that the cardiologist said could be caused by the lung restriction.

I would like to get him some type of deep breathing exerciser so he could see his progress. He seems unwilling to just do deep breathing exercises so I thought if he could actually see how shallow is breathing is and see it get better, he might do the exercises. The brace will not allow him to breathe deeply so he would have to do it in the morning before the puts the brace on and at bedtime after he takes it off.

I've looked at some on Amazon but there are so many different types that I have no idea what to get. Some are called spirometers and some are called something else.

Does anyone have any ideas or experience with something like this?
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Old 12-21-2015, 11:29 PM
doc doc is offline
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"Incentive Spirometry" is often prescribed for patients after abdominal surgery because the pain prevents them from taking deep breathes and they're then more likely to retain secretions and get pneumonia.

Maybe you've seen the gizmo: a little bubble pipe thing with a mouthpiece and some plastic balls in a tube. You blow in and try to keep the balls floating. It's just a trick to get you to breathe deep.

If your husband doesn't breathe deep because of a restricting brace, then the spirometer won't really work. He'll have to remove the brace to get bigger breathes. Without the brace, it isn't a problem. A Catch 22 situation.
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Old 12-21-2015, 11:37 PM
CatherineID CatherineID is offline
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I have asthma. All we use is a peak flow meter. It measures our lung volume. Use it daily to see if peak flow is remaining consistent. If it suddenly drops, increase medication to improve peak flow and avoid possible triggers.

The action of the peak flow meter is much like the spirometer. Since he is reluctant to do breathing exercises, I wouldn't invest much and buy one of the simple plastic ones. Personally, I like the one with the balls you have to move instead of the ones where you just have to hit the mark.

I know what you mean about the chest constriction. I have a type of arthritis where my bones are fusing so when the inflammation is bad, I have trouble moving my rib cage. It is like wearing a back brace you can't take off.
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Old 12-21-2015, 11:38 PM
wildturnip Female wildturnip is offline
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Thanks Doc! I did see the plastic ball thing but wondered if it would do what I wanted.

I thought he might do the deep breathing exercises in the morning before he puts the brace on and at bedtime when he takes it off. Of course, it wouldn't help during the day when he's wearing the brace but I thought something was better than nothing! He has tried going without the brace but within about 24 hours he's in too much pain and has to put it back on.
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Old 12-23-2015, 08:36 PM
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His problem is mechanical (the brace) as opposed to disease like COPD or asthma, so I don't think a couple minutes of breathing exercise each day is going to help much.

Is he actually short of breathe? Is he troubled by secretions that are difficult to clear? Or are you worried about the "enlarged heart?" There would be a different approach to each of those problems.
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Old 12-23-2015, 08:54 PM
wildturnip Female wildturnip is offline
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Thanks for the tip Catherine!

Doc, He's starting to cough when he goes to bed at night. He really doesn't have shortness of breath in the usual sense; he just can't breathe deeply enough. I guess that doesn't make much sense!
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Old 12-23-2015, 09:46 PM
CatherineID CatherineID is offline
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If I remember correctly the little breathing exerciser with the balls is operated by sucking in, not blowing. I mention this because I don't want him to get it, try it, then give up because he can't do it if he does it the wrong way. BTW, sucking in enough to move all three balls ... well ... sucks.
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Old 12-24-2015, 08:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildturnip View Post
Thanks for the tip Catherine!

Doc, He's starting to cough when he goes to bed at night. He really doesn't have shortness of breath in the usual sense; he just can't breathe deeply enough. I guess that doesn't make much sense!
If the brace is so tight he can't expand his lungs enough to breathe, then adjust the brace. He won't die of a bad back, but he will die of pneumonia or co2 narcosis.

The term "enlarged heart" is code for "heat failure," and one of the first signs of that is shortness of breathe, or "air hunger" after you lay down. It can also be indicated by an annoying, non-productive cough when you lay down.

The squeaky wheel get the grease. Press his doc a little harder about this.
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Old 12-24-2015, 11:47 AM
wildturnip Female wildturnip is offline
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Catherine, Thanks for mentioning that you suck to move the balls. That's may not be what I'm looking for. I was just looking at them again on Amazon to order one.

Doc, hmm..that doesn't sound good! The brace is s serious issue and he does loosen it as much as possible and still avoid bad pain. He had a brachial plexus injury in 1997 and without the brace, he slumps to the left because of muscle atrophy. Then his spinal cord gets pinched causing severe pain.

I wish he had a doctor to press! His previous one retired last year and Worker's Comp has to choose a new one. His previous comp case worker changed jobs and he was sent back to the one he had before her, who is useless. We were told she would call us "in a couple of days" and this was in September! When DH had her before, I had to call the state insurance commissioner on her twice and she probably hates us. But she just won't do what she is supposed to do.

Back to the breathing issue, that is scary and I can't see a good solution. I appreciate the information very much.
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Old 12-24-2015, 12:58 PM
CatherineID CatherineID is offline
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Sucking in is the hardest part of breathing. That's what almost all the breathing machines have you do. I wish he could get a few sessions with a respiratory therapist and/or physical therapist. They could work on it with him.

I know you're worried. He is the one who has to do the work, though. I hope he sees that his health can improve and starts taking steps. It must seem overwhelming at times.
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Old 01-08-2016, 11:47 AM
wildturnip Female wildturnip is offline
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I thought I replied to your post Catherine, but I see it's now here! I got the little ball thing and he is able to get the ball almost to the top but isn't able to hold it there for more than a fraction of a second. His FNP ordered an in-home two night sleep study that we'll do as soon as the device comes in the mail. It's supposed to measure breathing, chest movements and oxygen levels throughout the night.

A couple of years ago, he went to the sleep lab and had this done but they gave him a big glass of apple juice before bed and he was up all night going to the bathroom and didn't sleep enough to get any relevant information from the study.
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Old 01-08-2016, 11:46 PM
CatherineID CatherineID is offline
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I'm not sure I could hold the ball at the top for more than a fraction of a second! He is doing fine. It sounds like the sleep thing is the first issue to get resolved. Having trouble breathing while he sleeps alone could be the cause of the enlarged heart. I'm glad his doctor is taking it seriously. Let us know!
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Old 01-10-2016, 11:58 PM
wildturnip Female wildturnip is offline
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He did the first night of the in-home sleep study last night. Any time I was awake he seemed to be sleeping and breathing just fine! I just pray that the test will show whatever it needs to show.
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