what is 'postural drainage'?

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Hello. Newby to this site! Glad I found it :-)

Was diagnosed a year ago after years of asthma and 'chest infections'. I have had rheumatoid arthritis for 25 years and my bronch team at hosp tell me that this often happens in people with low immune systems. I also have sinusitis and am soooo fed up with the amount of mucus (about a cup ful daily) and soooo embarrassed by my 'death rattle' cough! I use salt nebuliser 2 x daily, have humidifier at home because of central heating, do breathing exercises daily that the physio gave me and yet mucus developing at the same rate. I also have pseudonomas at bottom of lungs which consultant told me will never go :-0

RA and bronch soooo debilitating. Oh yes forgot to mention I am 67 yrs old. Any hope for lessening the mucus and not feeling so tired?

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  • Posted

    Hi Ann - I'm 67 too and I have had bronchiectasis since I was a year old.  The death rattle cough is a bit embarrassing but the postural drainage will help you get rid of some of the mucus hopefully. It is a way of physically removing the mucus from your lungs by lying in postures on the bed specificaly designed to help you clear your lungs  - it involves different positions with pillows to help, a pattern of breathing and some coughing and spitting.  You need patience and about 30 to 40 minutes a day.  I do it daily (well almost daily - sometimes I have a day off because I am too busy...naughty me!).  There are lots of web sites which explain how to do it, but your physio should be able to help you.  Do you see a chest specialist?  You should!  I see one every six months.  They keep an eye on things and help with any queries you have.

    Don't despair but I have around the same amount of mucus as you - sometimes more sometimes less but you can live with all this you know.  I have had a full working life - retired now thank goodness - and do most of the things I want to do.

    I have had pseudomonas living with me for years.  If it becomes a real trial they may send you for Intravenous Antibiotics in hospital but so far I have managed to avoid that!

    You will feel tired.  It goes with the territory but if you do your breathing exercises, get enough rest (I don't but don't copy me!), drink loads of water, learn to do postural drainage etc. etc. you can live a pretty normal life.  I have managed it so far!

    RA is no fun is it?  I don't have it but I had a friend who did.

    And sinusitis goes with bronchiectasis - heaven knows why - my specialist didn't!  I find thate more of a trial than the chest problems to be honest.

    I can't deny that bronchiectasis is a royal pain in the backside - I would far far rather be without it, but I have lived with it all my life so I know no different.  Do get some help to learn postural drainage. It is boring but necessary.  When I was a teenager I didn't used to do it and boy I suffered.

    Take care of yourself ann - I know it all seems like a lot but it is possible to live with bronchiectasis.  I am living proof.



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    • Posted

      Hi Operalyn As you possibly remember I too have bronchiectasis and remember telling the Specialist nurse who I see that I had had an orperation when I was 11 for sinusitis. Told him it is a standing joke before I leave the house I take a bundle of tissues with me. He did not seem to make any connection. Quite interesting to find there is a connection after all. They told me about 6 years ago the bronchitis I had as a youngster has caused my lung problem. Recently had three or four infections in as many months ad the nurse wanted me to go in for intravenous drugs and I too have backed off. I am not having much success with drainage and he suggested a nebuliser to use morning and night but not wanting to go down that route yet if I can help. Took a week for results of sputum sample to come back this time I knew my rescue pack (doxycycline) was not working but because it was a weekend there was no one to ask for help Now have another antibiotic Co-Trimoxasole) and it seems to be working just need some mucus off my chest.
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    • Posted

      The only way I have ever found that really really gets the sputum off your lungs is postural drainage but it is not easy and you have to get the knack.  And have lots and lots of patience and time!  Good luck.
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  • Posted

    Hi Ann, I,m pleased you have found this site and welcome to it. I have found it very helpful to share with others the complications of bronchiectasis. I feel for you, it's an awful disease, I do posteral draining every day sometimes twice if I have a lot of mucus. I load 3 pillows on top of each other on the bed and throw my self over them on one side first then the other taking about 20 minutes for each side, it's like draining honey from a pot. It's sounds as though you have a lot of mucus, if it's left in the lungs it becomes more and more infected. Try to see your chest consultant and get as much help as you can and antibiotics, unfortunately RA goes with bronchiectasis. I hope you feel much better soon. 😊😊
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