by Lauren Matheson, PT

When clients think of private practice physiotherapy, they often think of ankle sprains, low back injuries, and rotator cuff strains. If you have been following along with Reactive Health’s newsletter you may have noticed that the scope of practice of a physiotherapist is much broader than you first thought! Along with chronic and acute musculoskeletal injuries as well as neurological conditions, physiotherapists are also trained to work with clients with respiratory conditions! 

Physiotherapists can help clients with management of chronic lung conditions by providing education and manual therapy to assist with:

1) Airway clearance: 


Manual therapy to assist with mobilization of secretions in the lungs into the larger airways. Patients can then use huffing and coughing techniques to clear secretions. 

Postural drainage:

Specific positioning can help mobilize secretions from different lobes of the lungs using gravity.


A technique that involves taking a deep breath followed by a forced expiration that helps clear secretions from your lungs. 

2) Breathing techniques: 

Pursed lip breathing :

Inhalation through the nose and exhalation through pursed lips. This can help to control breathing rate (by decreasing expiration rate) and assist with increasing the amount of air brought into the lungs through inhalation. 

Diaphragmatic breathing:

Deep breathing that optimizes the use of your diaphragm in order to improve breathing rate and oxygen exchange.

Stacked breathing:

Increases oxygen intake with inspiration and controls breathing rate. 

Recovery positions:

Decreases breathing effort by allowing the diaphragm to work more efficiently. One example is the tripod position, which you’ve likely instinctively used to catch your breath after a run. 

3) Core stability : 

Did you know that your diaphragm, an important muscle involved with respiration, is also a major part of four muscle groups that provide core stability? Along with your deep core stabilizers, low back stabilizers, and pelvic floor muscles your diaphragm provides core stability. In turn, having a strong “core” will also decrease breathing effort.

4) Pacing and activity management techniques: 

Physiotherapists can work with you to develop a plan to allow you to remain independent with activities of daily living and continue to participate in the leisure activities you enjoy! 

If you wish to get a cardiorespiratory assessement with Lauren, you can book online here or reach us at: (902)370-2327   //