Our ability to breathe has a direct effect on our nervous system, our metabolic system and our postural system. In the day to day, many of us breathe shallow, breath hold, or maintain constant contraction of the abdominal muscles. All of these strategies limit the amount of movement of the diaphragm as well as the other muscles of the core (abdominals and pelvic floor). One of the keys to getting out of pain and improving the strength of our core is to learn how to allow the diaphragm to move.
How do you breathe? Can you improve your breathing patterns?
A very common breathing pattern that I see in my office is called paradoxical breathing. In this pattern, rather than allowing the central tendon of the diaphragm to descend on inhale, the tendon stays put and the ribs flare outward and up. Also, the abdominal muscles draw in and upward rather than lengthening outward.
During normal breathing, the dome of the diaphragm flattens making more room for the lungs to fill with air. As the diaphragm descends on inhale, the pelvic floor and the abdominal muscles are lengthening. On exhale the muscles return to the starting position.