COPD-Clearing Your Lungs
Too much mucus in your lungs makes it hard to breathe, but there are several things you can do to help move the mucus out.
Try controlled coughing after you use your inhaler or other medicine. Sit on the edge of a chair with both feet on the floor. Lean forward a little and relax. Now breathe in through your nose, slowly, and fold your arms over your belly. As you breathe out, lean forward and push your arms against your belly and cough 2 or 3 times. Push on your belly with your arms as you cough.
Breathe in slowly and gently through your nose, and repeat the coughing if you need to. You can also try postural drainage, where you lie in different positions for at least 5 minutes to help drain the mucus from your lungs.
Start by lying on your back with two or three pillows under your hips. Use a small pillow for your head if you need it. Keep your arms at your sides and breathe in as you push out with your belly and breathe out as you pull your belly in. This is called belly breathing.
Next, turn onto your belly, keeping the pillows under your hips. Put your arms up by your head and breathe in and out, using belly breathing. Now lie on your side with the pillows under your hip. Put your arms where you are comfortable and be sure your chest is lower than your hips. Use belly breathing and switch sides after 5 or 10 minutes.
Another way to clear your lungs is called chest percussions. You can do it yourself or have someone do it for you.
Cup your hand, and lightly tap your chest and back, avoiding your spine and breastbone. It may help to do this one along with postural drainage. Use these tips to help clear your lungs and make breathing easier.
Current as of: May 23, 2016
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD – Family Medicine & Hasmeena Kathuria, MD – Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Sleep Medicine