Asthma is a relatively common condition that affects the respiratory system, symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness, cough and difficulty breathing. It affects an estimated 262 million people (in 2019) and is the most common chronic disease found in children. While asthma affects both children and adults, it is more common in children and many people grow out of this breathing difficulty a as they reach adulthood.

Asthma is caused by inflammation of the airways, and specific environmental triggers (such as pollen, dust, pet fur or tobacco smoke) can set off this inflammation. Learning to avoid these triggers can be very helpful in preventing flare-ups.

 Diagnosed by a doctor using lung function tests, both oral and inhaled medication can be used as treatment, thus allowing patients to participate in normal activities of daily life.

Physiotherapy should be used alongside the medication prescribed by the doctor to promote wellness and reduce the symptoms experienced by the patient.

what happens to your lungs when you have asthma

What is the role of Physiotherapy?

The main aim of physiotherapy treatment in patients is to manage the symptoms by improving the breathing technique of the patient, and to equip the patient to manage flare-ups themselves.
There are many breathing techniques that the physiotherapist may make use and they may also choose to teach the patient some exercises that will improve rib cage mobility and respiratory muscle strength in order to facilitate easier, more comfortable breathing. The physiotherapist will also guide the patient around safe and effective ways to exercise and train in order to reduce the symptoms of asthma and improve their quality of life.

If the patient is struggling with a lot of phlegm (as sometimes happens during flare-ups), the physiotherapist can also assist the patient to manage to clear this with chest physiotherapy. As physiotherapists work closely with many respiratory patients they are also well equipped to teach asthmatic patients to manage their condition well, avoiding flare-ups and managing them independently when they do occur.

When should I consult a physiotherapist if I have asthma?

If you have been diagnosed with asthma it is a good idea to consult a physiotherapist as soon as possible in order for them to teach you breathing exercises and guide you around exercise therapy in order to help manage your asthma as well as possible.

All physiotherapists at Lamberti Physiotherapy are trained and ready to help you manage your asthmatic condition.


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2. Asthma – Obstructive – Conditions – Respiratory – What We Treat – Physio.co.uk.
3. Physiopedia.
4. Asthma – physio plus (2020) Physio Plus
5. Bruton, A. et al. (2018) “Physiotherapy breathing retraining for asthma: A randomised controlled trial,” The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, 6(1), pp. 19–28.
6. Bruurs, M.L.J., van der Giessen, L.J. and Moed, H. (2013) “The effectiveness of physiotherapy in PATIENTS WITH ASTHMA: A systematic review of the literature,” Respiratory Medicine, 107(4), pp. 483–494. The Doi Foundation
7. Kelly, B. (2021) “Can asthma be treated through physiotherapy?,” CK Physiotherapy
8. Laurino, R.A. et al. (2012) “Respiratory rehabilitation: A physiotherapy approach to the control of asthma symptoms and anxiety,” Clinics, 67(11), pp. 1291–1297. The Doi Foundation

All the above references were accessed in March 2023.