Breathing Properly? The Harm You Could Be Causing Yourself
by Kristen Giddings
If you suffer from aches and pains in your neck, shoulders and back, your solution to living pain free might be as easy as correcting this common issue with breathing.
Without ever realizing it, many people cause themselves a great deal of pain and stress simply from an incorrect breathing form. By acknowledging your breathing and shifting away from bad habits, you can significantly change your life for the better.
To understand the poor breathing form adults develop, watch the way in which a baby breathes. Watch their belly’s moving methodically in and out with each breath. Most young children do the same, breathing deeply with their stomachs, inflating their belly with each inhale and deflating with each exhale. Now, pay attention to how most adults breathe. Their shoulders rise up and down, they expand their chest, and take quicker, shorter breaths. Then, add the overwhelming stress that often plagues daily life for an adult, and shallow breathing becomes even worse.
This adapted form of breathing can hinder your health, yet you may never understand the source of the issue or pain. By breathing only through your chest, and not using the deeper form of breathing, “belly breathing”, you build tension in your shoulders and upper back.
Dr. Paul Salinas, a respected Doctor of Chiropractic in New York City, describes the issues that arise with shallow breathing.
“Shallow breathing from your chest can increase the frequency of neck pain because you start using the muscles in your neck to assist with breathing,” says Salinas. “Also, if you are not using your core while breathing, you are not protecting your lower back and that can cause pain.”
The shallow, chest breathing not only strains those areas through overuse, causing tightness and pain, but this unhealthy form of breathing increases anxiety.
Making a conscious effort to breathe deeply from your belly can reduce or eliminate the stress and tension caused from shallow breathing. By activating your core and engaging your inner core muscles, you promote deep breathing and you further relax your body. This activation and deep breathing will also assist in maintaining proper movement patterns.
“Besides increasing the volume of air within each breath to further oxygenate your blood, abdominal breathing activates the inner unit of your core,” says Salinas. “This helps to reduce the occurrence of lower back and spinal pain.”
In addition, breathing deeply releases more toxins trapped within your body, allowing a deeper cleanse and making you feel better. Belly breathing can also lift your mood, as deep breathing creates a neurochemical response in your brain which directly relates to increasing happiness.
So before you lose hope in solving your neck and back pain mysteries, begin by simply adjusting your breathing. Take the time to change your habits and breathe deeply from your stomach, and you could be saving yourself a life of pain.