• What is Chest Physiotherapy?

  • How It Helps

  • Common Questions

  • Coverage Options

  • Research

Chest physiotherapy is a therapy option that helps improve breathing by indirect removal of mucus from the respiratory passages of the patient. It includes a set of treatments that expands the lungs, helps remove secretions that clog the breathing passages and strengthens the respiratory muscles.

The treatments involved in chest physiotherapy include chest percussion, chest vibration, turning, coughing, postural drainage, breathing exercises and incentive spirometry.

CPT (Chest Physiotherapy) is administered along with other treatments to eliminate secretions that make breathing difficult. These include nebulizer treatment, suctioning, and expectorant drug administration.

A patient can benefit from chest therapy in more ways than one. There is an increased intake of oxygen because of lung expansion. The respiratory muscles are strengthened and are able to eliminate secretions from the respiratory system easily. There is also significant improvement in mucus clearance, a reduced risk of pulmonary infection, and enhanced pulmonary function.

If the patient has lung disease such as bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or pneumonia, the benefit from chest therapy can be critical to improving his or her quality of life.

Who can benefit from chest therapy?

People with neuromuscular diseases like Guillain-Barré syndrome, cystic fibrosis, tetanus, progressive muscle weakness like myasthenia gravis can also benefit from chest therapy. 

Additionally, CPT may be prescribed post-surgically for patients who have problems taking deep breaths.

Can chest therapy be self-managed?

Chest therapy should be performed under the supervision of a chest physiotherapist; however, you or someone from your family can be trained. The chest physiotherapist can teach you to perform some of the therapies on your own, nonetheless, a visit to your doctor’s office is still recommended.

Can chest therapy suit all ages?

Chest therapy is suitable for people of all ages; infants, children and adults.

What is the cost of the chest therapy treatment?

The cost of chest therapy varies depending on the length of the treatment. Chest therapy may be a part of a regular treatment for a chronic condition. For some cases, special equipment like percussion may be needed, which are covered by the health insurance plan of the patient.


How do you know which chest therapy procedure is most suitable for your condition?

Patients are regularly evaluated and monitored to identify which of the procedures – chest percussion, chest vibration, turning, coughing, breathing exercises, postural drainage and incentive spirometry – are the most effective. Patients who receive long term chest therapy treatment are revaluated every three months for progress.

Coverage Options

pt Health therapy services are covered by most extended health insurance companies and in some cases Veterans Affairs and Medicare - such as OHIP (Ontario), Alberta Health Care and Medical Service Plan MSP (British Columbia). Not sure if you're covered? No problem. We can help you find out (and usually within the hour). Just call us toll free at 1-866-749-7461.

At pt Health we believe your health should come first. We take care of the paperwork so you can focus on getting better, plus we offer direct insurance billing, saving you time and up front costs.

Learn more about coverage options available at pt Health

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Van der Schans published a clinical research report on "Conventional Chest Physical Therapy for Obtrusive Lung Disease” in September 2007 which identified the effective methods for chest physical therapy as well as the importance of identifying and selecting the most appropriate treatment for the patient.

The study showed that the most effective airway clearance modality is directed cough. However, in terms of which treatment is used in the therapy, the patient's preference is the best indicator to use. It also emphasized the cooperation and adherence of the patient to the therapy to achieve the benefits.

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