Breathing is one of the most essential and natural human functions. Perhaps this is why it is often taken for granted and done poorly. As we grow and become acquainted with society’s poor ergonomics and mechanics, we very quickly develop poor breathing habits. So why does it matter how you’re breathing, as long as you are breathing?

Poor breathing has been clinically related to multiple symptoms that range from chronic headaches, neck pain, low back pain, and even poor athletic performance. At our Indianapolis chiropractic clinic, we find that many of our patients have a deficiency in their breathing patterns.

The majority of us perform our activities of daily living while seated, whether at work, driving, eating, or even resting. This mere factor of sitting by itself inhibits the areas responsible for proper breathing, primarily the diaphragm. In addition, sitting puts us in a forward position with rounded shoulders, which forces us to breathe from the accessory muscles and the upper part of the chest.

At our affordable chiropractic clinic, we have noticed that most of our patients dealing with chronic headaches and neck pain are chest breathers, breathing from the traps and neck muscles, instead of properly breathing from the diaphragm, pelvic floor and the abdominal area.  We see the same phenomenon happening with our low back pain patients, where poor breathing leads to poor stability in the spine and poor core activation.

In the video below, Dr. Charbel demonstrates an effective breathing exercise we recommend to our patients that will help you develop proper breathing habits: [youtube_sc url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-URrvHuKeo&list=UUywozp0WIbd3OU4N9KQlUag”]

In order to decrease the risk of headaches, low back pain, and even stress, we recommend applying these abdominal breathing techniques demonstrated in the video throughout your day:

  • Breathe in from the nose, and out from the mouth.
  • Breathe from the diaphragm and pelvic floor, not from the upper chest. Keep the ribs down and unengaged, allowing the diaphragm and pelvic floor to contract.
  • Breathe in a three-dimensional fashion. When breathing, your abdominal area should expand from side to side, back to front, down toward the pelvic floor, and up into the diaphragm.
  • Find a rhythm that keeps you relaxed. Whether you exhale on the count of three, four, or five, what is important is that you are not forcing your breathing.
  • Inhaling and exhaling should be effortless. When exhaling, try not to engage any muscles.
  • Pause when you breathe, at the end of both inhalation and exhalation.

By incorporating the breathing exercise demonstrated in the video, as well as applying the simple abdominal breathing techniques throughout the day, you will develop proper breathing habits, which may help alleviate your pain. Contact our Indianapolis chiropractic clinic today for more tips on proper breathing.

Related: Think Sitting Can’t Kill You? Think Again.

About Integrated Health Solutions

Dr. Charbel Harb is a licensed chiropractic physician and the Medical Director of Integrated Health Solutions. Our core belief is that each patient who walks through the doors is a person, not just a medical record or chart. Our greatest pleasure is bringing joy to our patients and helping them to fully embrace life, allowing them to enjoy each day: active, healthy and pain free.