Better Breathing: The Oxygen Solution

One thing I can’t understate is the importance of realizing that compensational breathing patterns are the origin of so many instances of joint and muscle pain. In fact, I would venture to say that the vast majority of back pain is due to altered breathing mechanics.

The common “tight” muscles that massage therapists and trainers come across all tend to be accessory muscles of breathing, or are directly affected by dysfunctional breathing mechanics.

The psoas has muscle fibers that tie directly to the diaphragm.
The SCMs attempt to lift the chest to facilitate airflow.
The scalenes likewise attempt to lift the chest.
The QL is an accessory muscle of breathing.
The paravertebrals get tight due to altered breathing mechanics.
The quads and hamstrings are at the mercy of the position of the pelvis, and the position of the pelvis relies on symmetrical breathing.

Take home point: if you aren’t addressing breathing mechanics, resolution of pain is difficult.

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