physio treatment to help cough up phlem

Posted , 13 users are following.

Hi all I am 60 years old and was diagnosed with Bronchiectasis about 18 months ago following a persistent cough for 18 months.

I have never smoked and always been reasonably fit.

Following the diagnosis from the hospital the consultants letter advised I should be treated as asthmatic, however my new doctor does not seem to have read this letter and following 3 months of very bad coughing a suspected collapsed lung feeling very tired and numerous antibiotics I lost my temper. Hey presto the doctor read the letter and put me on 200 micrograms of Qvar Easi-Breathe once in the morning and once at night, within a few days I had stopped coughing.

However 3 moths on I have been struggling to breath and felt very tired all the time, the Qvar is helping and I am slowly getting better but feel I would be even better if I could cough something up, I read that you can get physio and lessons to help cough phlem up.

Has anyone had experience of this and does it work.

I am afraid I am reluctant to go back to the doctors as I have lost all confidence in him and the medical profession, I sometimes think I seem to know more about my condition than him.

Any helpful advice would be welcome.

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43 Replies

  • Posted

    first of all you should be doing regular physio and have been taught how to do it. You should have stand-by antibiotics and the facility to get a sputum sample to the hospital when necessary. 

    I don't understand why you are not being followed up by the hospital since the diagnosis, and at least have a contact number for advice. You should have seen a specialist chest physiotherapist when you were diagnosed.

    My experience with my GP has been also less than good, a mixture of ignorance and negligence, they often just do not seem to know anything about this rather common disease and how to deal with it.

    My feeling is you should go back to your GP and ask to be re-referred to the hospital, because you have not received all the help you should have.

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    • Posted

      Thank's Katherine it is so good to hear from someone who understands this condition, it makes me feel I am not alone.

      I have taken your advice and booked an appointment Wednesday and will ask to be re-referred.

      I am a little worried that my condition has worsened since being diagnosed and can't be controled with the Qvar alone.

      Once again many thank's.


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  • Posted

    Hello  andrew you ask to be refered to a chest clinic or  chest consultant   you shouldbe taught how to do your physio and drain your chest I was lucky  I was taught when I was very young   I am 62 now  ive had bronchiectasis since I was very young   drain every morning and eve  it helps to keep your chest clear     it means leaning over  a pile  of pillows or cushions  so your head and chest  is lower  than your waist  you  put a towel over your back  on on your chest side and with flat  slighly cupped hands  slap  your rib area   not hard but firm enough to  help clear your lung on that side breath  deep and out you will find it will helo you to cough  have a spit pot or tissues handy to cough and spit into  once you've done that side  for a couole of minutes  repeat on the other side    it helps if you  can have someone do it for you  useing both hands but you can do it yourself it just takes time to learn   rest after youve finished   take time to recover    drink plenty of fluids  non alcoholic   through out the day  it helps  rest when you need to  I hope this help andrew  
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  • Posted

    Hi andrew I hope I've been of help  but you do need refering  to a chest specialist  and physio nurse  to help you   another thing too is keep an eye on your sputum colour  clear , cream ok  yellow or green  means infection  get to the Dr's if you need to take a sample  for them to see it good luck  xxx
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  • Posted

    Hi Andrew 

    I have been treated for stomach for years then my twin sister got diagnosed and then through my persistence of tests me too. We are 49 years old and have a nebuliser.

    i have recommende these to expel I know with a serious chest complaint. Lidol sell them for 20.00

    i have got into the habit of using it to remove stuff sat on my lungs every morning and sometimes ona tea time. I work full time and this seems to help. 

    It is important that mucus is removed as this is what attracts infection from others.

    i am prescribed a saline solution which kicks up the loose stuff.

    it us really worth perusing through your chest clinic at the hospital 



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  • Posted

    Hi Andrew on my message I meant to say the word asthma instead of stomach, it's my predictive text.


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  • Posted

    Dear Andrew,

    You need a doctor who will take an interest in your case as getting angry destroys the relationship. Is there another doctor in the same practice? I changed my doctor and straight away got a working relationship between the doctor and the specialist team at the local hospital.

    The doctor should forward your name to the physio people who work in the community, this could be prompted by the hospital, and a 'flutter' supplied to help with breathing and bringing up phlem.

    A sample of phlem (the yacky coloured stuff) should be sent to the hospital through your doctor, to find out the type of bug that is causing the trouble.

    Clearing your throat is a better way to bring it up as I have been told that constant coughing drives it down. I don't know how true this is as I'm always bringing 'stuff' up.

    After being treated for 9 months for 'indigestion' my first doctor's idea for treating the cough, I finally had a severe lung bleed...I had been coughing productively for 18 months...and was finally diagnosed with bronchiectasis by a locum.

    Advice as at the beginning...change your doctor.

    Kind Regards,


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    • Posted

      Hi Lesley, The reason I got angry with the doctor is because of the lack of continuity It is virtually impossible to see the same doctor twice.

      He had no idea about my condition I am sick and tired of repeating myself every time with a diferent doctor. After telling him this he then told me that it was his last day and he isnt coming back !! 

      I have to wait on average 40 minutes sometimes an hour even though I have an appointment. I had no such problem with my last doctor I have never been to such an awfull doctors practice.

      Last Wednesday I took Katherines advice saw another different doctor and said I want a re-referral to the hospital and a script for standby antbiotics.

      I am now awaiting an appointment from the hospital probably in 3 months time.

      I am not a person who easily gets angy but when you feel really ill and the professionals who are supposed to help you dont appear to have a clue how to treat you because they havent bothered to read the consultants recommendations for me I dispair !

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    • Posted

      Hi Andrew, I sympathize and know how you feel; I have had the similar problems;

      I agree, some of these GPs can treat us as a nuisance. After lots of problems I now have an excellent GP!

      I do hope you get everything sorted, when you feel so ill, it is hard to be in control..there is good advice from the people on this site.

      Every blessing,


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  • Posted

    Sadly I was failed by both my GP and my local chest clinic who misdiagnosed me and put me on high doses of asthma meds which did not help at all. I spent nearly 2 years trying to get a diagnosis and feeling sometimes as though everyone thinks you are just neurotic.

    Eventually I insisted, against huge resistance, that my GP refer me to a specialist in another city who took me off all the asthma meds, made the diagnosis and suggested the treatment.

    I am now back with the local chest clinic but with the correct diagnosis and take azithromycin 250mgms 3times a week which helps to reduce inflammation. I also have standby antibiotics which have to be tailored to the bugs in your sputum, and I do my physio every day come rain or come shine. 

    It is not a cure, cos there isn't one, but at least I feel as though everything that can be done is being done. Although my present GP is not up to date with current recommendations, she is at least willing to listen and take advice and act on it.

    Have a look at the British Thoracic Society recommendations for the treatment of bronchiectasis to keep yourself up-to-date.

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    • Posted

      Hi Katherine, I think I must be having a similar experience.

      but it is so reassuring to hear from other sufferers about their experiences.

      Thanks so much for your advice.


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