Saturday, April 23, 2011

Postural Drainage … What is that?

As many of us age, excess mucous and saliva are more difficult to clear from our mouth, throat and lungs.  Pneumonia becomes more of a concern because we cannot clear out lungs as easily as others.  Aspiration also becomes an issue for the same reason. 

When any of these issues mentioned above become an problem, postural drainage (PD) can usually help.    I have used postural drainage several times when clearing the lungs became a problem (severe cold or the flu).  The technique combined with Mucinex makes breathing a lot easier.
  • What it is:  Postural Drainage is putting yourself in certain positions so the force of gravity will help drain secretions (mucous) from your lungs.
  • Why do you do it:  Postural Drainage is done to improve your lung function by removing excess secretions allowing for easier breathing and improved oxygenation of the lungs.
  • When should you perform it:  The best time is the early morning before breakfast.  This will help clear secretions that have built up during the night.  Another good time is about an hour before bedtime to help you sleep easier.  It should not be done immediately after a meal.
  • How long does it take:  Depending upon the build up of secretions, anywhere between fifteen to thirty minutes.
  • What will help improve the drainage:  Percussion is very helpful to breakup the mucous that cannot be easily drained.  Percussion is the clapping on your chest and back with cupped hands.  The cupped hands cause vibrations that help to loosen the secretions.
  • What supplies will I need:  Towel, pillows, your bed, a chair, and tissues.  If percussion is performed, a caregiver will also be needed.
To learn more about Postural Drainage, check out these resources and also discuss the technique with your doctor:
Please let me know if articles like this are helpful.  And, if you have used PD before, what other tips will help the newcomer to get the most out of the process?

1 comment:

  1. Great article, it is exactly what I needed.
    Tx for this.


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