Do you sometimes experience pain and do not know what to do?
Pain is a perception that we perceive as a result of pressure, compression or restriction to an area of the body. Nerve signals are sent to the brain which is translated into pain. It causes muscle tightness, tension and fatigue and sympathetic nervous system response. An effective way to relax and alleviate the pain is to start noticing how you breathe.
When you breathe shallowly – into the chest instead of the belly-muscles in your diaphragm, rib cage and low back tighten up. Over time, that tension translates into pain.
a. Do you breathe more than 8 breaths a minute? The more shallowly you breathe the more breaths you have to take each minute. This translates into stress.
b. If your chest rises when you breathe you are taking oxygen mostly into the upper part of your body. This type of “thoracic” breathing is causing the lungs to work inefficiently and more stress is placed on accessory muscles.
Diaphragmatic Breathing: What is it?
By learning how to do diaphragmatic breathing this will help to lower blood pressure, decreases heart rate, reduces tension in muscles, gives a sense of well- being and control over the body and help to decrease pain.
Learning How to Perform Diaphragmatic Breathing:
Practice: Place a hand both on your chest and abdomen. Notice whether these areas move, and if they do which area moves more. In relaxed breathing, the abdomen expands fully as you breathe in (fill the belly like a balloon) and the chest remains relatively quiet. Imagine the breath as soft and caressing. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try breathing in for a count of 4 and blow out for a count of 4.
Diaphragmatic breathing can be performed in sitting, standing, and activities such as walking.
If you suffer from chronic pain the advice from a physical therapist can start you on the path to better health and fitness, no matter what your age. If you have questions, please call Physical Therapy at 914-245-8807 or 914-762 2222 for more information or our website at www.ptrehab.com.