Speech Therapy For Chronic Cough

Speech Therapy For Chronic Cough | District Speech Therapy Services Speech Language Pathologist Therapist Clinic Washington DC

Coughing is a natural reflex that helps clear out your throat and lungs.

It can prevent infection by propelling air out of your lungs and throat along with particles and irritants, such as mucus and dust.

Chronic cough, however, is a different story

Chronic cough is typically caused by another underlying factor or issue.

If you have a chronic cough, speech therapy can help.

While working with a specialist to address your underlying factors, a speech therapist can help address how your chronic cough affects your voice.

District Speech offers speech therapy in Washington DC, and we’ll work with you to figure out solutions for your chronic cough and help improve your condition and your communication.

This week on our speech therapy blog, we’re going to take a more detailed look at what chronic cough is and how a speech therapist can help.

What Is Chronic Cough?

A chronic cough is a cough that persists for more than eight weeks.

In some cases, a chronic cough can last for several months or even years.

Chronic cough isn’t a condition on its own.

Rather, it’s a symptom that results from another underlying condition that is stimulating your body’s natural cough reflex.

It can be a nuisance to live with and can disrupt your daily life.

How To Tell If You Have Chronic Cough

The obvious indication that you have a chronic cough is having a cough that lasts longer than eight weeks.

If you have a particular underlying cause of chronic cough, you may already be aware that you have it and why.

Some general symptoms of chronic cough can include:

  • Feeling the need to cough or clear your throat frequently
  • Having a hoarse or sore voice
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Headaches
  • Mental and physical exhaustion
  • Feeling social anxiety about coughing frequently

Keep in mind that if a chronic cough persists for a long time, it may affect and damage other parts of your respiratory system.

Having a persistent and violent cough may cause:

  • Chest pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Damage to your larynx
  • Damage to blood vessels
  • Presence of blood when coughing
  • Fractured ribs
  • Ruptured diaphragm

It’s important to monitor your symptoms in order to determine if your chronic cough can lead to more serious health issues.

What Causes Chronic Cough?

As we’ve already mentioned, chronic cough is a symptom of another existing health condition.

There are numerous underlying causes that can produce chronic cough.

Knowing what’s causing your chronic cough will help you address it.

Some causes of chronic cough include:

  • Asthma
  • Other breathing issues
  • Gastrointestinal reflux disease (acid reflux, or GERD)
  • Postnasal drip, typically caused by allergies or sinus problems
  • Smoking tobacco
  • Respiratory infections
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Upper airway cough syndrome
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Overstimulated coughing reflex
  • Frequently screaming, shouting, or otherwise misusing your voice

It’s worth noting, though, that the vast majority of cases of chronic cough aren’t caused by something life threatening.

What To Do If You Have A Chronic Cough

If you have a chronic cough, it’s essential to find out its underlying cause.

Speak to your primary care provider.

They’ll assess you in order to determine the cause.

Assessments for chronic cough may include a physical examination to look at your respiratory anatomy.

They will ask about your medical history and go over the duration and severity of your cough and other symptoms.

The most important thing is to make sure the cause of your chronic cough isn’t life threatening, like laryngeal cancer or emphysema.

Based on what’s causing your chronic cough, you and your primary care provider can discuss treatment options.

How Does A Chronic Cough Affect Your Voice?

Chronic cough is linked with a condition called irritable larynx syndrome, or ILS.

With ILS, a cough trigger will irritate your throat, causing you to cough.

That’s how coughing works, of course.

However, a chronic coughing habit can lead to your larynx becoming more sensitive.

That can cause the secretions that naturally occur in the back of your throat to become thicker and drier.

As a result, you feel the urge to clear the back of your throat, but all you’re doing is making it more irritated.

The more you clear your throat, the more irritated your throat will become, which will cause you to want to clear your throat more.

The cycle continues.

A cough is a traumatic event for your vocal folds.

The occasional one isn’t something to be worried about, but over a long period of time it can cause lasting effects on your voice.

This can include:

What Is Chronic Cough? | District Speech Therapy Services Speech Language Pathologist Therapist Clinic Washington DC

Tips To Reduce Chronic Cough

Addressing the underlying condition that’s causing your chronic cough can help get fully rid of it or manage its severity.

However, simply identifying where your chronic cough is coming from won’t make it go away.

Having a chronic cough can impact your quality of life.

But there are some strategies you can implement to help manage and reduce the severity and impact that your chronic cough has.

Some lifestyle changes that can help manage your chronic cough include:

  • Stay hydrated – this helps thin your mucus
  • Avoid known triggers of your cough, like mold or other irritants
  • Drink some honey lemon tea to soothe your throat
  • If you smoke, quit
  • Avoid places with a lot of tobacco smoke
  • Use a humidifier to keep the air from getting too dry

While these tips aren’t cures for your chronic cough, they may help reduce your symptoms.

How Can Speech Therapy Help With Chronic Cough?

A speech therapist will assess your medical history and the current severity of your symptoms.

They may also assess your voice, breathing, and posture, as well as the muscles in your neck and head.

Speech therapy treatment will vary from person to person based on their underlying cause and the symptoms they exhibit.

The aim of speech therapy for chronic cough is to help you manage your cough, and to soothe its effects.

This can include making you aware of potential triggers for your cough and how to avoid them.

A speech therapist can teach you strategies to help reduce your coughing frequency.

They can also teach you ways to keep your vocal folds healthy and functioning optimally.

Some specific speech therapy treatments for chronic cough include:

  • Breath work
  • Advice on changing your environment to reduce triggers
  • Manual therapy for the neck, head, and upper body
  • Voice therapy
  • Counseling and support

Book Your Appointment With District Speech Today

If you have questions about chronic cough or are looking for ways to help manage your symptoms, we can help.

Living with a chronic cough can be frustrating and it may affect your physical and mental health.

At District Speech, our therapy team will work with you to manage your cough and help free your voice.

Book your appointment with District Speech today.

District Speech and Language Therapy
1300 I St NW, #400E,
Washington, DC 20005

- https://g.page/districtspeech

District Speech and Language Therapy specializes in speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy solutions, for both children and adults, in the Washington D.C and the Arlington Virginia areas.