Chest Physiotherapy uses various airway clearance techniques to drain mucus from the lungs. This includes techniques such as percussions , vibrations, deep breathing exercises, autogenic drainage, incentive spirometers, nebulisation and huffing. Specific cardio exercises are also used to mobilise secretions from your lungs. Chest physiotherapy uses different positions (postural drainage positions) to use gravity to assist with mucus drainage from the various lobes of the lungs. The vibrations and sound waves from percussions help dislodge mucus from the lungs. The person is then able to cough out the mucus, or may be suctioned in order to eliminate secretions.
Chest Physiotherapy is used to help manage a chest condition, it is not a cure for a lung infection- it is a treatment to remove excess secretions, and to improve air entry in the lungs. Excessive secretions may make a person feel short of breath, the chest may feel tight and wheezy, and a person may also struggle to oxygenate properly.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Cystic fibrosis
Physiotherapists also assist in the collection of sputum specimens at the request of your treating doctor. In children too young to cough out a specimen we use a suction machine to collect the sample.