We previously discussed how your breathing can affect your neck and shoulder tightness. As we learnt the nerve supply to our diaphragm is originated from cervical nerve root C3, C4, C5, a proper function cervical spine is very important to maintain a healthy breathing pattern.
A healthy breathing rate and the pattern are called Eupnoea. (1) It is also described as belly breathing. Your diaphragm should descents(activate) when you inhale, followed by ribs up and out, with chest expansion(2). “Quiet inhalation function should be effortless if all the mechanical characteristics of the structures involved are optimal and airways are patent.”(2) Altered compliance (the expansibility potential of the lungs and thoracic cage), tissue resistance (how elastic, fibrotic, mobile the structures are), and airway resistance all increase the amount of effort required to inhale. (2) The take-home message here is to know that effortless breathing requires lots of parts to function at their optimal!
A good trick that you can try in the office, or if you have a chair with arms at home, is as follows: Begin with sitting upright, depress your shoulders by keeping your elbows in contact with the arm of the chair. The next step is inhale using your belly(imagine you’re blowing up a balloon). A typical quiet breathing pattern would have 2 seconds inhalation and 3 seconds exhalation.
In clinical setting, it is very common to see a chest breather - here shoulder and neck muscles are assisting breathing. If you find it very difficult to practice the exercise at home, there are many reasons that you may not be able to do this. Firstly it is important to rule out pathology and infection. Secondly, there are many other things we can check for breathing issues- for example a dysfunctional diaphragm can inhibit proper breathing.
Breathing has a huge effect on our brain function and energy!
Do not hesitate to have a chat with our chiropractors and see how we can help manage your issues.
1. Eupnea [Internet]. 2020 [cited 16 Apr 2020]. Available from: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eupnea#medicalDictionary.
2. Chaitow L, Bradley D, Gilbert C. The structure and function of breathing. Multidisciplinary Approaches to Breathing Pattern Disorders. 2002:1-41.
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