Video: A Simple Breathing Technique for Relieving Soreness & Back Pain

Low Back Pain Exercises: Diaphragmatic Breathing

Learn how to relax your back muscles through a simple breathing technique. With frequent practice you may see a difference in tension through your pelvis, neck, shoulders and back.

Introducing a simple but effective low back stretch to help reduce pain with an acute or chronic low back injury. We discuss the importance of diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly breathing, to reduce low back pain and demonstrate how to effectively perform this technique.

Instructions for Performing Static Back Diaphragmatic Breathing

  1. Lie on the ground and find a chair, bench, or low bed to rest your legs on, positioning it like a block to create a 90-degree angle for your legs.
  2. Scoot your hips as close as possible to the chair or wall, and then roll onto your back, similar to a teddy roll. Lift your legs up and lie all the way down, adjusting your position by wiggling your hips closer.
  3. Ensure that your knees are at least at a 90-degree angle, or slightly higher, with your thighs positioned vertically above your hips.
  4. Place one hand over your belly and the other hand over your chest. The goal is to relax completely, feeling supported by the ground, and allowing the muscles around the pelvis, belly, and chest to soften.
  5. Take a few moments to breathe normally, paying attention to which hand is moving – the one on your chest, the one on your belly, or both.
  6. Notice if you tend to breathe primarily with your chest, although the diaphragm is the main breathing muscle located lower in your ribcage.
  7. During inhalation, the diaphragm contracts and pushes downward against your abdominal organs, resulting in a slight expansion of your belly. During exhalation, the diaphragm lifts up, relieving pressure from the organs, causing the belly to come in.
  8. Over time, many people lose their connection to the diaphragm, abdomen, and pelvic floor, relying excessively on their shoulders and chest for breathing, particularly in stressful situations or during physical exertion. However, in regular daily activities, breathing should occur naturally and neutrally with the abdomen and diaphragm.
  9. To focus on diaphragmatic breathing, keep one hand over your belly and the other hand over your chest. Direct your attention to the hand on your belly and initiate the breath movement from there.
  10. Feel your belly naturally rise during inhalation, and when exhaling, focus on the hand over your belly moving first and more prominently than the hand over your chest.
  11. Re-establishing proper breathing patterns may take time if you have been relying on chest breathing for a while. It is beneficial to practice frequently throughout the day, placing your hands on your belly and chest, to check in with your breathing rhythm and observe any changes.
  12. If you notice that your chest is moving excessively or before your belly, it’s a sign that you should continue practicing diaphragmatic breathing regularly to restore a balanced breathing pattern.
  13. If you have been habitually breathing with your chest for an extended period, changing the pattern will require time and consistency. Focus on breathing into the belly, allowing the muscles in your legs, back, and pelvis to relax.

The lower back exercises demonstrated in our videos are great for beginners who are looking to relieve pain at home. If you would like a professional consultation regarding your back pain and what can be done, contact us today! Portland Wellness Care specializes in chiropractic care, physiotherapy, massage and acupuncture.

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