British Lung Foundation
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Postural Drainage?

Hi , I have been diagnosed with CODP in 2005. the latest test CT Thorax scan shows small cysts in both ,lower, lungs, a thickening of one part, both sides and a couple of other things, nothing "sinister".

Symptoms are the same, medication the same so like at lot of you I just get on with life. I've not been given a number and I'm not sure I want one :)

Exercise definitely helps with the breathing and oxygen levels while making the body work a bit. I walk the dog then go for a 20 - 30 min walk after for the Cardio vascular bit.

Not been well so been lazy with the stretching and gym type exercises lately but a new year a new plan :)

I've been looking at Postural Drainage as a way to remove the gunk I produce but as yet none of the medical peoples have suggested it other than, maybe I could do with being shown some physiotherapy exercises to help with a productive cough.

Anyway . I just wondered if any one else out there has had any experience with this type of physiotherapy? or has in the past been shown the Postural Drainage technique?

Have a great day :)

5 Replies

Hi earlybird! I have non-cf bronchiectasis, which involves a great deal of "gunk". I used to do postural drainage but it's quite intrusive in one's daily life, and tipping myself gave me headaches. I now use autogenic drainage, which takes several sessions with a physiotherapist to learn but you can do it sitting up, watching tv! Physio referrals are standard practice for bronchiectasis but I don't know about copd.

You could learn the Active Cycle of Breathing technique quite easily tho, without a referral, google it or look on youtube for a demo.

Also you might be able to get hold of an acapella or flutter device, if you can get a physio referral the physiotherapist will give you one, if not these are widely available to buy on the net and not expensive - maybe £20 or so, not sure.

Or, you could try "bubble pep". This technique was originally devised to make airway clearance easy and fun for kids, but works just as well for adults! Here are a couple of links which explain it well

good luck with your airway clearance - it's crucial for preventing infection

love, ff x


Seems to me that this is best taught by a qualified physio but I hope these links may help

Jemma xx


Hi earlybird

Like fairyfootsteps I too have non cf bronch and as such have had do phsio every day all my life. It is essential we do this and as such as ff says we are referred to a respiratory physiotherapist as a matter of course.

One thing to note when it comes to mucus clearance is we all have our own preferences and find what works for us. This is illustrated in the different approach ff and I have to clearing the gunk - no matter - as long as we get rid of it as best we can.

For much of my life there really only was postural drainage with percussion and shaking and I still find to this day that is the best method for ME. I have been shown by resp physios all the techniques you can imagine and I can honestly say I have not found one which gets rid of the amount I can get rid of using this method, for ME. I was shown autogenic drainage on a few occasions and I just couldn't get the hang of it at all. Wish I could as as ff says you don't need any props and it can be done with little if any preparation.

You could lay over a few pillows as shown in the link. If you wanted to do pd with percussion and shaking then you would need to be taught. The clapping is done with cupped floppy hands to trap the air and vibrate the gunk and not with flat hands.

If you have a consultant I would ask him to refer you to a respiratory physiotherapist, ask your GP or you could telephone the resp physios at your hospital, not for a physio session but to be taught various techniques as you want to help yourself. Try all the methods and work out which works best for you.

They should also show you how to use various helpful gadgets ie the acapella. If they don't loan you one you can get one online. The one they loan from the hospital is the acapella choice. My acapella has just broken and as this is the second one I have had from the hopsital I thought I should really buy this next one. Henleys Medical have one for about £53 and you can download a vat medical exemption form. There is postage on top of that and so I looked on Amazon and it's about £48 so it really just about cancels out the vat and the higher price. Can't comment as I haven't received it yet, but it looks the same. I will put up a link from Henleys so you can see the one.

Hope you find a method which you find beneficial.

Love C xxx


I was shown how to dit it last year by a physio on the hospital ward, butI have now been told it is no longer practised. I still do it for my husband and I know for certain a young man I know who has cystic fibrosis needs it every day.

My husband lays on his side on the bed, first thing in the morning and I 'do the side of his lungs, move him onto his front and quickly do the back of his lungs, then move him onto his other side and do the same again. I just do this before he gets up and before he gets into bed at night. He brings lots of gunk up. He also finds that when walking, he gets breathless and by hitting his back and sides it helps him enormously as he can bring the gunk up again. It is not very nice but a good way of clearing his lungs before bedtime and before getting out of bed in the morning. We even asked for a private physio to come to the house, and we would pay them, but I was told that it was no longer practiced.

He has just got a 'flutter' device and finds that helps him as well. He is on 16 hours plus oxygen and ambulatory oxygen as well, a nebuliser and all drugs known to man, he takes emergency antibiotics for two weeks at a time when a bacteria starts, and as now been told to start taking a three months course of low dose antibiotics when he stops taking his next antibiotic treatment.

Just looked outside and it is 4 ins thick with snow and 12 ins thick outside our front door. 21st January, 2013.


Thank you so much everyone for your feed-back.

I will be seeing my pulmonary doctor in a month or so, so will ask her for a referal for physio help; I will take a look at the links you have provided and maybe get some idea of what it's all about.

I am now on a low maintenance dose of anti-b's for the winter months. Having finished a 7 day course of other anti-b's and steroids.

Thank you once again :)


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