Just a quick blog (note) as I only just thought of this this morning and wanted to share it with new entrants to the "AD zipper club"! As part of the pain management that your body automatically puts in place during the first few months after the operation to handle the pain of the chest healing - it REALLY hurts to laugh, cough, (sneezing is out of the question!) and even breathe deeply. I found that one of the defence mechanisms against this pain that I had carried over some months after the chest surgery was that I was still breathing shallowly to avoid the pain of deep breathing that I got when my chest was healing. So, once your chest pain has subsided (about 3-4 months or so I think in my case) my doctor got me doing deep breathing exercises using the ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE.
It really works! I also had physiotherapy for about 4 weeks with this as well. By combining these 2 together I found that it helped immensely in being able to properly walk and exercise again - not back to my previous level - but a lot better than I was doing. Deep breathing is all about using ALL of your lungs capacity by 'diaphragmatic breathing'
. Here's a quote from Wikopedia: "Diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, belly breathing, seesaw breathing, deep breathing or costal breathing is the act of breathing deep into your lungs by flexing your diaphragm rather than breathing shallowly by flexing your rib cage
. This deep breathing is marked by expansion of the stomach (abdomen) rather than the chest when breathing. It is generally considered a healthier and fuller way to ingest oxygen, and is often used as a therapy for hyperventilation and anxiety disorders"
Best advice is check with your doctor - but it REALLY worked for me! I will get the whole recovery story up in a blog as soon as I can, but I am quite busy this week. Remember that recovering from this operation REALLY hurts the body - as much as the head - but in many ways the body recovers a lot quicker than your head!