Chest Physiotherapy is a term used to describe certain treatments with the aim of improving lung-related conditions. Chest Physiotherapists are fully qualified in the physiology and are trained to use their physiotherapy techniques in respiratory function to administer a range of treatments
for chest conditions and to help improve lung function.
Chest Physiotherapy can help if you are suffering from bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis or even injury or trauma to the chest and is particularly beneficial for conditions resulting in excess phlegm. By keeping your lungs clear of phlegm and well oxygenated, you can help prevent chest infections and ill health, repeat hospitalisation and over-use of antibiotics.
When phlegm collects in the airways, breathing can become laboured and a chest infection may occur. An infection is particularly serious in a patient who already has a chronic respiratory disease as they have an increased likelihood of developing pneumonia and other serious respiratory problems.
Chest Physiotherapy includes a range of techniques which can be tailored to suit each individual patient.
Teaching Breathing Techniques is particularly beneficial for those whose conditions reduce their ability to inflate or deflate their lungs fully. Therapy can include deep breathing and breathing control exercises.
Postural Drainage is a method of airway clearance which involves using gravity assisted positioning, to loosen secretions. This enables the patient to clear them using coughing and deep breathing techniques. It may be used in conjunction with;
Percussion – is a focused vigorous use of cupped hands moving over the chest area being drained. Vibration – gentle but effective shaking of the chest wall during exhalation to loosen secretions and allow the patient to cough out the excess phlegm.
Directed Coughing – The patient performs this after each session of Postural Drainage. One example is Huffing which requires the patient to take a breath in, hold it, and actively exhale. Huffing is not as forceful as a cough, so less tiring for an ill patient.
Turning – Turning from side to side permits lung expansion. They may be able to turn themselves or need to be turned by a caregiver.
The aim of chest physiotherapy is to enable the individual. To enable them to participate in all aspects of their everyday life,
To help improve their quality of life and to enable them to feel more in control of their breathing and their chest condition. Chest Physiotherapy attempts to enhance the patient’s participation in everyday life by enabling them to wash and dress unaided and increasing their quality of life. Chest Physiotherapists undertake to reduce the need for hospital admissions by reducing the incidence and severity of breathlessness patients experience.
Chest Physiotherapists build relationships of trust with their patients which in turn means they are ideally placed to deliver information or advice in a sensitive way. Advising and educating patients on healthy habits and practices and helping to boost confidence and relieve anxiety which may be caused by their condition.