It is estimated that over half of UK residents are currently suffering from poor posture. Many of the patients visiting our chiropractic clinic in Ealing, The Spine & Joint Centre, attend when their postural issues have begun to cause pain, significantly impair their movement, or affect their physical appearance.
Our chiropractors perform a variety of chiropractic treatments and provides physical therapy to help each patient correct the problem they are experiencing. We also offer tips on lifestyle adjustments which can be made to improve their posture.
One of the lifestyle changes that often surprises our patients is deep breathing. In addition to strengthening the muscles surrounding the lungs, deep breathing can rearrange tension patterns of the spine and improve posture.
Practicing deep breathing regularly also gives you an opportunity to maintain good posture for several minutes as you strengthen underused muscles in the neck, shoulders, and back.
To help you get started, here is some more information about deep breathing and how it can help the body.
Understanding Deep Breathing
The way you breathe has a significant impact on your health. When you breathe deeply, it can positively affect your heart rate, mental alertness, and blood pressure. It also changes how you position your body as it forces you into a more ‘natural’ position.
Regular deep breathing provides other benefits like stress reduction, improved cardiovascular health, stronger lungs, and better cognitive performance.
Unfortunately, most of us take very shallow breaths, which can weaken lung muscles over time and lead to tension in the upper body which may worsen posture. The good news is that you can begin using deep breathing and daily exercise at any time to reverse the effects of shallow breathing on the body.
What Happens When You Breathe Deeply
Inhalations and exhalations are made possible by contractions in the muscles surrounding the lungs. The main muscle involved is called the diaphragm, which is a very large muscle inside the lower ribs, near the bottom of your chest.
When you inhale, the diaphragm will lift the rib cage and expand the chest cavity to allow air into the lungs. It is assisted by the intercostal muscles, which are located between your ribs.
The ribs will separate slightly as the rib cage lifts away from the hips. Because the ribs are attached to different segments of the spine, this action will also elongate the spine, reducing pressure on the intervertebral discs and strengthening muscles in the torso.
Regular elongation of the spine from deep breathing eventually increases the space between the joints. This improves the spine’s capacity to twist, bend forwards and backwards, and bend sideways.
While deep breathing and using the full capacity of your lungs, you also reinforce the natural curves of the spine. The upper back, neck and shoulders are more likely to come into their optimal ‘natural’ position. This can reduce tension in the upper body and help you develop better posture.
Patients visiting our chiropractic clinic in Ealing with rounded shoulders or forward head posture can benefit greatly from a combination of physical therapy, exercise and deep breathing. These three activities strengthen under-utilised muscles and ligaments, taking some of the pressure off the back, shoulders, and neck.
Deep Breathing Patterns
Learning how to breathe deeply is simple. One of the simplest techniques is to breathe in deeply and count to 4 before releasing your breath over another 4 count.
You should notice that your abdomen, ribs, and chest are all pushed forward as you breathe. The shoulders, neck, and spine will naturally be pulled into proper alignment during this action. To check that you are breathing correctly, place your hand on your abdomen as you breathe it. It should move outwards slightly as air fills your lungs.
Another great option for practising deep breathing is to use a popular yoga pose called Child’s Pose. This is a rejuvenating pose, which is gentle on the spine and very relaxing. To perform Child’s Pose:
- Start in a kneeling position
- Sit back on your knees, so your buttocks are on your heels
- Round your body forward so your head is placed on the ground and arms are placed by your sides or in front of the body
- Breathe deeply, focussing on expanding your vertebrae and lifting your ribs towards the ceiling. Relax the muscles in your lower back
- Take 8 to 10 breaths, then return to kneeling position. Repeat as many times as you like.
Visit A Chiropractor In Ealing For More Help
Our chiropractors at The Spine & Joint Centre in Ealing will be able to analyse your posture and make some recommendations for how to improve it. They can perform a variety of chiropractic treatments and offer tips on lifestyle adjustments like deep breathing. To learn more, give us a call today on 020 8900 9004.