Chest Physiotherapy For Emphysema

What Is Emphysema?

Emphysema is a chronic lung condition that is part of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and primarily causes shortness of breath. It primarily involves damage to the alveoli (air sacs) in the lungs, leading to reduced elasticity and the destruction of the walls between alveoli. The primary cause of emphysema is long-term exposure to airborne irritants, such as cigarette smoke, air pollution, chemical fumes, and dust.

How Does Chest Physiotherapy Help People With Emphysema?

Chest physiotherapy is a type of respiratory treatment that can help to clear mucus and improve breathing in people with Emphysema. You can learn more about how chest physiotherapy works and a more detailed explanation of general benefits with chest physio.

For Emphysema, chest physiotherapy can be helpful by:

1. Improves Airway Clearance

  • Clearing Mucus: Chest physio techniques such as postural drainage, chest percussion, and vibration can help loosen and mobilise mucus, making it easier for patients to cough up and clear the airways.
  • Reducing Infection Risk: By facilitating mucus clearance, chest physio helps reduce the risk of respiratory infections, which can exacerbate emphysema symptoms.

2. Enhances Breathing Efficiency

  • Strengthening Respiratory Muscles: Breathing exercises, such as diaphragmatic breathing and pursed-lip breathing, strengthen the muscles involved in breathing, improving respiratory efficiency.
  • Increasing Lung Capacity: Regular physiotherapy can help increase lung capacity and improve overall lung function, making breathing easier.

3. Improves Overall Quality of Life

  • Enhancing Physical Function: Improved breathing and reduced mucus build-up contribute to better physical functioning and endurance.
  • Psychological Benefits: Better management of symptoms can reduce anxiety and depression related to chronic breathing difficulties, leading to an improved overall quality of life.

4. Education and Self-Management

  • Teaching Self-Care Techniques: Physiotherapists educate patients on techniques and exercises they can perform at home, empowering them to manage their condition more effectively.
  • Encouraging Compliance: Regular physiotherapy sessions can encourage clients to follow treatment plans with regular check-ins, including medication, exercise, and lifestyle modifications.

Who Can Perform Chest Physiotherapy?

Chest physiotherapy can be performed by a qualified chest physiotherapist who has been trained in the techniques. Inspire Healthcare can help with NDIS Physiotherapists in Sydney or a Physiotherapists in Melbourne.

If you are having chest physiotherapy performed by a healthcare professional, they will typically follow these steps:

  1. Assess your breathing and mucus production.
  2. Position you in a way that will help to drain mucus from your lungs.
  3. Use percussion and vibration to loosen mucus.
  4. Instruct you on coughing exercises.

What Are The Risks Of Chest Physiotherapy?

The risks of chest physiotherapy are generally minor and include:

  • Bruising
  • Skin irritation
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea

It’s important to consult a qualified healthcare professional and avoid any major DIY physio treatments at home to minimise risk. It’s also important to be honest and transparent with your physiotherapist if you have any underlying health conditions so they can advise on the best type of treatments for you.

Booking a Physiotherapy Appointment

Inspire Healthcare are a multi-disciplinary professional healthcare agency, book an appointment with a mobile NDIS Physiotherapist in Sydney or a Physiotherapist in Melbourne.



  • Guyver Mac

    Managing Director & Principal Physiotherapist

    Guyver specialises in gerontology and neurological physiotherapy, and has been working with NDIS since 2017 and practicing physiotherapy since 2015. He excels in treating conditions like Multiple Sclerosis (MS), stroke, neurological conditions, and global developmental delay. One of Guyver's favourite career moments as a physio is helping an Inspire Healthcare client with Multiple Sclerosis walk his daughter down the aisle at her wedding. Outside of work, Guyver enjoys going to the gym, swimming, and watching rugby league.