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Breathing has another important function besides being a way to get oxygen. It also plays a role in creating strength in your core and back. Right now, as you are reading this article, pay attention to your breathing. Are you breathing more in your abdomen or more in your chest? If you are unsure, place one hand on your stomach and the other hand on your chest. Which hand is moving more? If you are breathing more in your chest, you have a predisposing weakness that will make you more prone back pain as well as neck, hip or shoulder pain.

During normal inhalation, diaphragm (at the top) pushes down causing expansion of the abdomen.  If you are a “chest breather,” your breathing is ABNORMAL because your diaphragm muscle is weak and not working properly. The diaphragm is a very important core muscle that is below your lungs and attaches to your lower ribs and spine. 

In NORMAL breathing during the inhale, the diaphragm pushes down on the abdominal organs creating an increase in intra-abdominal pressure. Want to feel intra-abdominal pressure? Cough and feel the sudden pressure increase in your abdomen. This increase in abdominal pressure will cause the abdominal wall to expand outward like a balloon filling up with air. It is this pressure that creates strength in your core and back, helping your body stay strong and resist pain and injury.  If your diaphragm is working properly, your abdomen should be expanding out and in with every breath. 

If you feel your chest moving more when you breathe, your diaphragm is not working properly. You are compensating for this weakness by using neck and shoulder muscles to lift your chest, which is a common source of neck and shoulder tightness and pain.  Not only that, your abdomen is not “pressurizing” the way it should, which is making your core weak and more prone to lower back and hip pain.

Would you like to learn exercises that improve breathing, core strength and help to relieve neck and back pain as well as hip and shoulder problems?  Join us for a special exercise workshop, "How To Develop a Stronger Core From The Inside Out" on Thursday, November 17, 2016, at 7:15 pm.

Join us for an exciting program that will leave you with a better understanding of what “the core” is, how it works, and exercises you can perform to build a better core from the inside out.

Click here for more details and how to sign up.