Secretions, Coughing & Airway Clearance


Many patients with ‘productive’ respiratory conditions will suffer from, and need to manage excess secretions, either regularly each day, or during periods of acute infection or exacerbation.


Excess secretions within the airways and lungs create a perfect environment for infections to develop. Excess secretions can also increase the load on these structures as they struggle to supply enough air and the vital oxygen that it contains, into the bloodstream where it can be distributed around the body. This may subsequently cause shortness of breath and a feeling of being unable to catch your breath.


Respiratory conditions such as emphysema, bronchiectasis, Cystic Fibrosis and COPD can have a significant impact on your life and without effective airway management and secretion clearance, both function and quality of life can be significantly impacted.


The great news is that physiotherapy can help you to manage secretions and airway clearance and the challenges that this may cause and our specialist respiratory physiotherapists have both the assessment and treatment skills and the experience necessary to help you! We not only look to help you manage your symptoms, but also to maximise your physical function.


Whilst its often not possible to fully resolve the cause of your secretion production, when you are able to learn how to manage it effectively, you’ll feel more in control. Consequently it is often possible to lead a fulfilling and enjoyable life, full of the activities and exercise you may have previously felt impossible.


Our physiotherapists are able to help you in several ways:

  • Lifestyle advice.
  • Self-management techniques such as postural drainage and gravity assisted techniques.
  • Effective cough and airway clearance techniques.
  • Relaxation techniques to reduce anxiety and panic.
  • Breathing techniques to improve shortness of breath.
  • Inspiratory muscle training.
  • Breathing pattern retraining.
  • Manual treatments to the ribs and thoracic spine.
  • Exercise prescription and progression.
  • Exercise pacing and progression of exercise endurance / tolerance.


If you would like our help with managing your airways and effectively clearing secretions then please contact us today in confidence.