Chest physiotherapy is a field of physiotherapy that involves assessing a person’s respiratory functions. If you are finding it difficult to breathe (e.g. people with asthma) or are suffering from a chest infection, chest physiotherapy will be able to clear out the congestion in the chest and promote better breathing.

Chest physiotherapy involves assessing and auscultating (i.e. listening to your lungs using a stethoscope) to determining which lobes of your lungs are being affected that may cause respiratory distress or breathing difficulties.

Treatments for chest physiotherapy are targeted towards your specific needs and what sounds your lungs are making. There are many different types of sounds your lungs can make if you are finding it difficult to breathe, with some listed below:

  • Coarse crackles – usually involves sputum obstruction
  • Fine crackles – signify alveoli in your lungs opening and closing (e.g. atelectasis)
  • Wheeze – restriction/obstruction in the airways (e.g. floppy airways/ narrowing of the airways)
  • Silence (no sound) – e.g. collapse lung/lobe, COPD patients

Treatments can target sputum clearance and improving respiration though any of the following techniques:

  • Postural drainage
  • Active cycle breathing techniques
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Percussions, vibrations or shakes
  • Proper cough and huff techniques

We can help guide you to ensure you know techniques to help yourself when you are at home.