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Breathing techniques to prevent back pain – our osteopath explains!

Breathing is possibly the most basic action of our existence, everyone can do it without even thinking, right? Well technically yes, but most of us do it ineffectively.

Let’s do a quick challenge: take a deep breath in.


Let me guess, you did it through your mouth, inflating as first thing your chest, lifting your collar bones and your shoulders almost to the jaw level.

This is the most common mistake everyone does and that can lead further in time to annoying neck pain, as you are using for most the neck muscles which are lifting a load they are not meant to: the rib cage with the organs inside and in case of women, the breast as well.

Fortunately, there is an exercise you can do to prevent this from happening.

– Lie down, with your feet slightly apart, one hand on your abdomen and the other hand on your chest.

– Gently exhale the air in your lungs through your mouth, then inhale slowly through your nose, pushing out your abdomen slightly and concentrating on your breath. “Listen” to your abdomen expanding. Once you think it cannot hold any more air, start expanding your chest as well.

– Slowly exhale through your mouth. Start emptying your abdomen at first and your chest after the abdomen empty. Gently contract your abdominal muscles to completely release the remaining air in the lungs.

– Repeat until for 4-5 cycles. You may be able to do only 1 or 2 cycles at first as you might feel buzzy and exhausted at the end, it’s perfectly normal.

– Once you feel comfortable with your ability to breathe into the abdomen, it is not necessary to use your hands on your abdomen and chest.

After a few days of exercising, you will find out that it’s becoming easier and easier, and you feel less tired when doing the exercise.

After a few weeks you will realize that you’ll have changed the pattern of breathing at unconscious level: you no longer to think about it, but your abdominal breathing will come in automatically.

You now breath in a way more effective way than a few weeks ago.