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What exercises are best at bringing up mucus in Bronchiectasis


Recently diagnosed with Bronchiectasis no support or appointment with specialist until next year,this can't be right can it? What exercises or web sites can I use to do effective physio struggling to get secretions off the lung so lots of coughing. Any advice please,mental health at rock bottom x

25 Replies

Tap in to Google the following.....Huffing method to expel mucous. I also have bronchiectasis and was taught this method by a skilled physiotherapist. It definitely works, I do it daily. If you have any other questions about bronchiectasis you have come go the right place. Nice to meet you Crete123, I should have said Hi and welcome at the beginning but I'm saying it now anyway. Keep in touch. Chrys

Thank you so much X

My mum has Bronchiectasis. The hospital gave her a device that she blows into, which causes it to vibrate. The vibrations shake loose the mucus in her lungs.

I don’t know which brand or model she has but here’s a similar device on Amazon.


Thanks for your time much appreciatedx

Hi, Just a word re the Acapella - you should be able to get this on prescription free unless you have to pay for the script and you should also be referred to a pulmonary clinic by your GP to be shown how to use it so please write to your GP requesting the above if possible - I just think a letter might get better results for you considering what is going on at the moment, also mention the state of your mental health. I find it hard to believe you have to wait that long however at this moment in time you should be asking WHY in that aforementioned letter! Good luck and welcome to HU. A physiotherapist would be able to show you how to use one as well.


Click all of the above and then go to Google link

I was terrible until the doctor prescribed a steroid inhaler as well as Ventolin. The two now mean I don't really cough. I have found that if you can sit out in the sunshine with some deep breathes that helps. Also some cough sweets. My local Lidl in Malta has strong menthol sweets and I have also used Jackmans lemon and honey.

I have found stress makes everything twice as bad. Try some light reading / relaxation exercises. Be aware that you are classed as vulnerable so look after yourself. Have some treats if you can

I am replying in addition to the 2 previous replies.

santisuk in reply to sandravale

Steroids are not recommended for treatment of non-CF bronchiectasis in the UK, unless there is also asthma or COPD involved (per the guideline "British Thoracic Society_Guidleline for Bronchiectasis_Jan2019"). Just saying, sorry. If a UK pulmonologist or GP recommended this it maybe time to challenge them on that. Hopefully a bronchiectasis specialist would know already.

There may be special circumstances why a specialist would recommend steroids, but worth re-checking; normally this would not be a long term addition to your med defences

Excercise as much as you are able Crete 123 - walking, swimming, bicycling, gymn work - any of these help; concentrate on regular excercise not trying to conquer the world in a day. My bronchiectasis specialist did however say "do not be afraid to exercise until you are out of breath" (but stop and recover breath regularly)

As said already a mucolytic like carbocisteine helps and in the UK you would need to get your doctor or specialist to prescribe.

You should be demanding of the NHS a specialist appointment if you are in the UK to discuss your infection recovery plan and to ensure you have an appropriate rescue antibiotic always on hand. If you are getting more than two flare ups/exacerbations a year that require an antibiotic then also discuss whether the prophylactic antibiotic azithromycin might reduce the regularity of infection.

sandravale in reply to santisuk

I have asthma as well. My specialist in the UK prescribed them and my Maltese specialist agreed. Malta has been great and like I said apart from 1 heavy cold which caused a flare up, everything is under control. Malta has sent me to physio for breathing exercises

majji in reply to santisuk

Azithromycin is very good however it can affect one's hearing - my specialist prefers I stop it in the Summer but have had to give it up due to chemo at the moment.

Indeed. My mum, who has Bronchiectasis, has been told by the hospital not to take steroids for any reason whatsoever. When steroids were to be prescribed for an unrelated condition, the hospital stopped it and said “no steroids, period”.

Hi, you could drink sips of warm water during the day, a teaspoon of honey in hot water is good if you're not diabetic,

Antibiotics can sometimes dry up the mucus at the end of a course & warm water helps to get the throat clear. If you use a nebuliser keep using it &

Keep doing postural drainage & huffing.

I found that my bronchiectasis would get triggered with mayonnaise & fatty foods, fruits are really good for you, eat healthy & you'll be fine. I like to come here & read what people have to say about bronchiectasis, one more thing I want to share with everyone, I watched a video on covid 19 the young lady has bronchitis & she uses a home remedy which keeps her immune system healthy, she thinly slices an onion & covers it with raw honey, leaves it for an hour & it turns into a syrup she takes a tablespoon or two every 3-4 hours.

Look up Active Cycle of Breathing.


I find that carbocisteine (trade name Exputex in this part of the world) helps enormously. It is prescription only and I know that a lot of doctors do not prescribe it - including my own. I am fortunate that I live only a few miles from the border with the Republic of Ireland and I can get it over the counter from pharmacies. It is relatively cheap.

Speakto your GP.



Hi there you can get prescribed tablets from your gp to help with this,I got them prescribed from my hospital doctor x

Type YouTube in your seach bar your then 'active cycle of breathing'. Also look up Huffing Technique on YouTube.

If you can't get Carbocysteine from your GP try an over the counter in health food shops ie Hollanf & Barrett for N-Asytyline Cysteine (wrong spelling I know). They use this in other European countries. Good luck. P


Hi, try to get some carbocisteine from Your GP then with a huffing motion the mucus will eventualy move. Or you could a "Flutter"" Machine with carbocisteine. Ther e are also some exercises that show up on the web.


Kalispera, Crete123

The device referred to above is an Acapella Machine. My GP prescribed one and I find it extremely helpful.


Hi I haven’t seen a respiratory specialist since my gp got me a ct scan and diagnosed me with bronchiectasis and ntm from sputum cultures last November. With all that is going on I highly doubt my appointment will still be going ahead at the end of April and actually not sure I want to go anywhere near a hospital atm. I have bought a nebuliser from boots and my gp prescribed nebusal 7. Plus I bought a flutter device which is really good and helps bring the phlegm up. Also on carbocysteine, spiriva and high dose flixotide and montelukast as I have moderate asthma.

Wow so much to absorb my GP gave me an inhaler that's it should I ask for more? With you on. cancelling hospital appointments

Thanks x

My mum too had to wait nearly a year - and frankly she got worse in the meantime. Eventually she was prescribed carbocysteine to loosen the mucus (which also helps with clearance techniques.)

It's not difficult but really tedious, when you do it day after day but it's just one of those things that many need to do. Be careful that you do it properly because apparently doing it wrong can cause damage. (I don't know at what stage people start this actually)

Just put Active Cycle of Breathing NHS in google and you'll find some good videos or guide sheets

These 2 were good for me to help my mum with:



I don't know whether you're at the stage whether you need this or not, but also ask your doctor if you need a nebuliser of saline 0.9% - but it may be too early for that if you're only recently diagnosed.

Bronchiectasis r us is a very useful group to join. I use carbocisteine, nebulise 7% saline & have taken azithromycin 3x weekly for 9 years. Hope that helps. 😊

Hi Crete123,

It's a horrible feeling to be left with a diagnosis of bronchiectasis and no information or support. Like you I was left for months with an appointment months away. In the end I paid for a chest physiotherapist to show me how to do the active cycle of breathing and I had several sessions with her. I also have a flutter device to help loosen mucus. There are active cycle of breathing videos on line, but I found it difficult to get it right without support. I now do a combination of breathing exercises twice a day- it is very tedious but if it keeps a chest infection away it is worth it! Hope you get on ok and take care of yourself and keep safe.

Crete123 in reply to Happyhare

Hi thanks for that advice I think I'll have to find a private chest physio in the York/ Leeds area. How did you find yours is there a national list?


Happyhare in reply to Crete123

Sorry not to reply sooner. No, I contacted the local private hospital and they have their own team of physiotherapists, two of whom have been trained in chest physiotherapy. Hope this is helpful and that you are staying well and safe.

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