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Cystic Fibrosis



You will have been doing physiotherapy for many years and will be aware that it is an important part of your Cystic Fibrosis care.

In Cystic Fibrosus the mucus produced by the lungs is stickier than normal which results in your lungs being more prone to infection. Infection in the lungs can cause swelling and inflammation of the lung tissue which can result in more mucus being produced. This mucus can block small airways and cause repeated infections that can result in long-term damage that means your lungs do not work as effectively. Having an effective airway clearance routine is really important to keep your lungs healthy.

You will have seen physiotherapists whilst in paediatrics and will have developed airway clearance routines that work for you. This will continue with the adult team, the Cystic Fibrosis physiotherapists will work with you to continue to develop your treatment techniques, helping to increase your independence with self-management of your physiotherapy routine and medications. They will see you in clinic, on the wards if you are admitted and may also see you at home or in the community.

Who will do my Airway clearance?

As you have been growing up your parents or carers might have helped you with your airway clearance routine. They may have organised your physiotherapy based medication, reminded you to do your clearance or even helped you with your treatment. As a young adult your lifestyle will change as you transition from school to university or work and it is important to start increasing your independence with your airway clearance. When taking on extra responsibilities in adulthood it can be more challenging to fit in all your treatments and medication.  Your adult Cystic Fibrosis physiotherapist will continue to work closely with you to possibly adapt your current routine, or develop a new one, depending on your needs.  You may require different techniques when you are feeling more unwell and you will need to alter your routine as you develop through your life. They will work closely with you to help support you with this.

What about my inhaled therapies?

Many people with Cystic Fibrosis take inhaled medications. This could be a combination of inhaled antibiotics to treat infections, bronchodilators to open up your airways or mucolytic medications, such as DNase or hypertonic saline that help hydrate the airways and breakdown mucus. The timings of these medications are important to optimise and make your clearance effective. The transition period is a time for you to take on more responsibility for storing and taking these medications, to increase your knowledge on how they work and confidence in cleaning and maintaining your nebuliser. The Cystic Fibrosis physiotherapists and pharmacists are here to help guide you with this process.

Should I care about my posture?

As we get older we all need to take care of our posture to avoid unnecessary back pain. This is especially important for people who have Cystic Fibrosis as poor posture can impact on both your lung function and airway clearance.

The Cystic Fibrosis physiotherapists are able to assess your posture and provide you with ways and ideas to improve this through exercise or increasing your awareness of your posture when at work, university or home.


Sometimes people with Cystic Fibrosis can develop urinary incontinence. Repeated coughing cause's downward pressure on your pelvic floor and can cause your bladder to leak a bit of wee.  It is really important to tell your Cystic Fibrosis physiotherapist.  Try not to feel too embarrassed to talk to your physiotherapist, they have ways to help and manage this by providing you with pelvic floor strengthening exercises or they can refer you to a specialist if needed.