Do you know how to breathe right?

“When your muscles tighten and fatigue, don’t forget to breathe.”

-Daryl Thompson-

Most people all over the world breathe through their lungs or chest, known as thoracic breathing; while the right method to take the air into our system is through the diaphragm, a muscle that contracts increasing the volume of the thoracic cavity and receiving the proper amount of O2.

This popular yet dangerous technique is caused by a common factor recognized under the name of stress. Not only it triggers breathing pattern disorders or BPD, but also can initiates reflux, stomachaches and digestion complications.

The muscles around the thoracic cage are usually used in extreme physical conditions, yet chest breathers use these accessory breathing muscles and are directly caught in a vicious circle. The symptoms mainly include:

-         Neck pain

-         Back pain

-         Hyperventilation and fast heartbeats

-         Palpitation, dry-mouth

To chronic chest breathers, they may experience anxiety, panic attacks and even depression. Although these signs need psychological help. However; physical therapists can assist in relaxation techniques and abdominal breathing exercises to ease the body, enable the patient to heal faster and avoid getting those symptoms again. 

Charbel Najem, Internship coordinator at Department of Physical Therapy