By Kareem Ahmad, MD, who specializes in pulmonary disease at Inova’s Advanced Lung Disease and Transplant Program

Everyone’s lung function decreases over time as they age, but those with acute or chronic respiratory conditions — such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) — experience this reduction at a much faster rate due to ongoing lung damage. This leads to difficulty breathing and shortness of breath. While damage caused by respiratory disease is irreversible, exercise and conditioning can improve lung function and help make breathing easier.

Regular exercise is important for various reasons. Since the damage from respiratory disease means you have less lung to utilize, it’s important to optimize the rest of your muscles and organs to help compensate.

At Inova Fairfax Medical Campus, we offer a Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program that is certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation. It’s a nine-week, medically supervised education and exercise program. Patients learn exercises that can help improve cardiovascular health and endurance, allowing them to remain active longer despite the limits of respiratory disease.

Learn more about the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program. Call 703.776.3392. A physician’s referral is required.


  1. Charles S. Masarsky, D.C. on March 28, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    Dear Dr. Ahmad,

    Your article on pulmonary rehabilitation was very much appreciated. Too often, patients are given the impression that lung volumes cannot be changed.

    Since the 1980s, we have published several papers on the effect of the chiropractic adjustment on lung volume. You will find our references below. If you have any questions about this work, and/or if you are interested in clinical or research collaboration, please get in touch.


    Charles S. Masarsky, D.C.
    Vienna Chiropractic Associates
    243 Church Street NW, Suite 300-B
    Vienna, VA 22180


    Masarsky CS, Weber M. Chiropractic and Lung Volumes – A Retrospective Study. ACA J Chiropr, 1986; 20(9): 65.

    Masarsky CS, Weber M. Chiropractic Management of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. J Manipulative Physiol Ther, 1988; 11: 505-510. Abstract:

    Masarsky CS, Weber M. Screening Spirometry in the Chiropractic Examination. ACA J Chiropr, 1989 (Feb); 23: 67-68.

    Masarsky CS, Weber M. Somatic Dyspnea and the Orthopedics of Respiration. Chiropr Tech, 1991; 3: 26-29.

    Masarsky CS. Hypoxic Stress: A Risk Factor for Post-Concussive Hypopituitarism? Medical Hypotheses, 2018; 121: 31-34. Abstract:

    Engel RM, Vemulpad S. The Effects of Combining Manual Therapy with Exercise on Respiratory Function of Normal Individuals: A Randomized Control Trial. J Manipulative Physiol Ther, 2007; 30: 509-513. Full text:

    Kessinger R. Changes in Pulmonary Function Associated with Upper Cervical Specific Chiropractic Care. J Vertebr Sublux Res, 1997; 1(3): 43-49.

    • Cheryl Heidel on April 9, 2019 at 2:07 pm

      Dear Charles, I have forwarded your note to Dr. Ahmad.

  2. Maija Herweg on March 29, 2019 at 10:23 am

    It would be nice to include a list of insurance companies that cover this program and the program’s price. Also, a bit more about the details would be good, e.g. how many times a week, duration of class per meeting.

    • Cheryl Heidel on April 9, 2019 at 1:56 pm

      Hello Maija, I checked Inova’s Pulmonary Rehab webpage and it says “Most insurance companies will cover the majority of the cost for the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program. However, we recommend that you contact your insurance company to verify your coverage before you begin; some will require pre-certification. The Pulmonary Wellness Program is a self-pay program.” Regarding the details of class duration and frequency, I will check with the program coordinator to see if they have any estimates; perhaps it varies by patient. In the meantime please do give us a call if you are interested. Pulmonary Rehab is offered at 3 Inova locations: Alexandria (703-504-3398), Fairfax (703-776-3392), and Loudoun (703-858-6674).

Leave a Comment