The following is a guest post and does not necessarily reflect the views of Exercise Basics.
Lower back pain is a common problem with most people from all walks of life. The low back pain isn’t always related to lifting heavy objects; it can be as a result of bad posture and rigorous training on the field. People with chronic low back pain breathe a little differently than those without pain. Read on to find a correlation between breathing and low back pain.
A study by Hagins and Lamberg (2011) recently revealed that patients with chronic low back pain over a period of time tend to develop a dysfunction in their respiratory ability due to weakness of low back muscles. The patients tend to suffer breathing problems more during lifting tasks and activities that need a lot of effort from the patient. While this information may sound like ‘bad news to some people, it’s indeed a way out. In this post, we’re going to discuss exactly that.
This is because when a person inhales more air, a pressure is created within the abdomen – this pressure is supported by the abdominal and lower back muscles, and when the muscles are weak the support system cannot function properly leading to problems in breathing.
Over the years, therapists have focused on evaluating a person’s breathing ability, when the latter is diagnosed with chronic back pain. The therapist want to notice the amount of disability a patient is facing in breathing because the inability to breathe properly will actually lead to more pain, lack of metal alertness and fatigue.
Breathing and Back Pain
Breathing is probably the only body function that we perform voluntarily and involuntarily. When a person breathes consciously, he gets the nervous system to react; breathing exercises can thus have an effect on the body function and reactions that are beyond conscious control of humans – such as pain. Breathing properly leads to relaxation of the body and the muscles in the mid and the lower back. So, breathing exercises can be a way to target the treatment of chronic low back pains.
With proper breathing exercises, patients with chronic low back pains will have improper breathing causing the rib cage to become stiff and restrict inhalation. Loss of elasticity and weakness of the muscles leaves stale air inside the lungs, which restricts any fresh oxygen from entering the body leading to more pain and discomfort.
It is hard to concentrate on your breathing, but there are a few exercises that you can include in your daily lifestyle, which can help you in treatment of chronic low back pain.
Make sure you are breathing correctly:
Place one hand on the abdomen and the other on the chest, now begin by taking deep breaths and make sure that the hand on the abdomen is rising higher than the one on the chest. This is an exercise to determine that you are breathing correctly and that your diaphragm is pulling in ample air into the body.
Another exercise is to deep breathe slowly, imagining to suck up all the air, and then hold it for about 7 seconds (or as long as you possibly can) and then slowly exhale through the mouth. When all the air has been exhaled gently contract your abdomen muscles to completely exhale all the remaining air in the lungs and then repeat the process. It is vital to deepen your breathing by exhaling completely than inhaling more air (though, the latter is equally important).
Effects of Breathing Correctly
It has been observed that carrying out abdominal breathing exercises correctly can result in improvement in a person’s energy levels. There are times when patients can be in the need for quick pick up. Simulating breath exercise is the best and most effective way to relive a person of fatigue or when the person needs a pick up. The idea of Bellows breathing or simulating breath as it’s called, is to revitalize the body and mind.
This breathing exercise is opposite to abdominal breathing, herein the person is required to take short, rhythmic breaths in order to increase energy and decrease stress. It is important to note that Bellows breathing shouldn’t be used in place of abdominal breathing, instead it should be used by chronic back pain patients in addition to abdominal breathing as a tool to increase their energy levels when required.
‘Breathe’ is the life-thread and it’s indeed possible to fine-tune this life-thread by doing some simple exercises on a daily basis for a healthy life.
Hagins and Lamberg (2011). Individuals with low back pain breath differently than healthy individuals during a lifting task. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 41(3), pp. 141-148.
I’m Mike a Health & Fitness consultant having 15+ years of experience working in clinics, gyms and also Yoga instructor dealing with health, pain & injuries. Also, studied the usefulness of breathing exercises, Chirocare, yoga and meditation for treating back and chest pain. At present I am working with www.consumerhealthanswers.com, which appoints continuous efforts in researching more on physical fitness and their impact.