We take 16 breaths per minute which works out to around 23,000 breaths per day. Pretty crazy right? So, if we are taking over 20,000 breaths per day without even thinking about it, we should probably make sure that how we breathe is optimal for our body.
I see a lot of people coming in for chiropractic care with a variety of issues related to poor breathing mechanics. Each time we breathe, our diaphragm, which is a large muscle that wraps around our lower ribs and spine, contracts and relaxes. Things like poor posture, stress and muscle imbalances can affect how the diaphragm works and cause other accessory breathing muscles to work instead. Hello back and neck pain!
So how do you breathe ‘properly’? Correct breathing technique involves expanding your tummy and your lower ribs. It is common to take shallow chest breaths rather than using the diaphragm and ribs to their full capacity. Shallow chest breathing uses small muscles in the neck and ribs instead of the diaphragm. If this type of breathing continues for a long period of time it is not uncommon to develop neck pain, headaches and rib soreness from incorrect muscles working for the diaphragm.
Helpful Breathing Techniques
Most people aren’t aware of how they are breathing or that shallow breathing can be the cause of their neck or back pain. I have a number of tips to help with correct breathing. The first is to check your posture. Ending up hunched over an office desk all day affects how your diaphragm sits in relation to your rib cage. Maintaining good posture helps you to take nice deep tummy breaths and allows the diaphragm to function properly. My next tip is to be aware of how you breathe when you are stressed. When we are stressed we tend to restrict our breathing to shallow chest breaths. This is fine short term, but if you are under long term stress and aren’t breathing correctly, it can cause areas of pain to develop. If you are stressed, I recommend taking time throughout the day to take some nice deep tummy breaths to reset your breathing pattern.
Learning proper breathing techniques is important. If you think this is an area that you struggle with contact our Brisbane CBD chiropractic clinic and make an appointment. Miki checks breathing patterns and is able to assist with specific recommendations related to your body.