How to clear your chest with breathing techniques

4) Why use an Airway Clearance Technique?

Picture of lungs

It is not normal to be aware of your sputum. If sputum is troubling you, practising an airway clearance technique can help you to manage this. You will need a physiotherapist to show you these techniques.

Clearing your chest everyday should become as normal in your routine as brushing your teeth. If you have a lot of sputum then you should try to clear it first thing in the morning and last thing at night so you get as much of the mucous up as possible. You will improve the amount of oxygen getting in to your lungs and you will  be less troubled by your chest during the day and night. The aim of clearing your chest everyday will mean you will have fewer chest infections which are less severe and cause less damage to your lungs.

Ask your GP about possible medication to loosen the sputum.

Airway clearance techniques will help you to:

  • Reduce the amount of sputum in your lungs, and prevent airways becoming blocked.
  • Reduce the chance of a chest infection.
  • Make clearing your chest easier and less tiring.
  • Spot a change in your sputum earlier, and treat a chest infection promptly (for more information see our section on: Signs of infection or exacerbation and what to do).
  • Manage your cough better.
  • Remove mucous plugs.