Recovering from an exacerbation

1) Recovering from an exacerbation

A mature woman patient consulting a GP in the surgery consulting room.

© Crown Copyright 2009

After you have had an exacerbation or flare up, it is really worthwhile  to work on your level of fitness after you have had a bad spell. Each person is different and you may take weeks rather than days to feel back to your usual self again. Your legs may feel weaker because you have being doing less and also because you may have been on steroids. It is possible to get back to your normal even though it will take some time and effort at a time when you may be feeling weak. Getting back to doing the things you enjoy and increasing activities is important to keep you as well as possible.

  • If possible speak to your GP or nurse about attending pulmonary rehabilitation. Following an exacerbation, there is good research evidence to show that pulmonary rehabilitation helps recovery and reduces the chance of you needing to go back into hospital.
  • If you have a home exercise programme you could gradually build this up again. Key exercises to be doing after an exacerbation:
    • Working on the large muscle groups such as muscles in your thighs but with plenty of rest between.
    • Avoiding longer walks, keeping to short distances until you regain your stamina.
  • You can find general advice on increasing activity at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland factsheet: Just move [.pdf]
  • With your doctor or nurse, you may decide on a self management plan or review one that you already have.

For more information please read:
NHS Lothian: Self-management plan [.pdf]