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How can Therapy help with my Chronic Cough and Breathing Difficulties?

A cough results from a blast of high pressure air through the vocal folds as a mechanism of expelling any foreign object that has attempted to pass through the larynx. The cough reflex is a natural protective function which is sometimes necessary to clear the air ways. Continual coughing can damage the vocal folds and coughing can become a habit. It can be associated with a sense of dryness, irritation or tickle in the throat.

Chronic coughing can be devastating socially, physically and emotionally and can interfere with your quality of life. Often the urge to cough is real but the need to cough is not.

Once medical causes of the cough have been fully investigated and there is no obvious physical reason which explains why you are coughing, you may be referred for therapy.

We will take a thorough history focussing on the severity, frequency, triggers for coughing, relevant medical factors, medications and current management strategies. Normal breathing, voicing and coughing will be explained. You will be taught strategies for controlling your cough and breaking what has often become a vicious cycle. A cough may be caused by a combination of factors.

Many people with a chronic cough which has not responded to standard medical treatment also have some breathing difficulties associated with a sense of restriction in the throat resulting in difficulty getting air in to the lungs-often worsened during exercise or when exposes to cold air, strong smells or when a person feels stressed or anxious. These breathing issues will also be analysed and you will be given strategies to improve your breathing pattern at rest and when exercising. Many patients find walking and talking difficult because of this breath coordination issue. Even elite athletes can experience acute breathing difficulties which result in noisy, effortful breathing. This condition has many names including vocal fold/cord dysfunction or paradoxical vocal fold movement.

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