Has it ever occurred to you that you may be breathing inefficiently? I doubt you are even aware of your breathing, unless you have experienced breathing distress such as an asthma attack or pneumonia or had abdominal surgery. However, it is not uncommon for many people suffering from neck, upper back or shoulder pain to present with a inefficient or poor breathing pattern.
It is often referred to as shallow breathing (hyperventilation). An apt description since the breaths are shorter and faster and only tend to fill the upper parts (the smallest part) of the lungs. Over time, the neck and upper back muscles become tight and sore (they weren’t designed for this work), the diaphragm becomes weak and the lack of carbon dioxide in the body can lead to hypocapnia (lightheadedness, chest pain, tingling in hands or feet, anxiety, rapid heartbeat).
Whether it is to reduce these symptoms or to help your lungs through an infection, knowing how to breathe correctly can help tremendously. It can clear head fogginess, reduce anxiety and relax tense neck muscles.
I have made a video that shows incorrect breathing, correct breathing and how you can strengthen your diaphragm. All of these lessons are also very helpful during the current pandemic and especially if you get infected and become mildly symptomatic.
Once you have mastered the correct sequence of breathing and strengthened the diaphragm a bit, then it is time to try things like blowing up balloons and blowing bubbles. These exercises, if done with the incorrect breathing pattern, are inefficient and could lead to more neck tension and distress.
Please remember, that we can help you via TeleHealth (online consult) if you struggle with your breathing during an infection and even after recovery.
This content is for information purposes and is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have any health concerns or pain, please contact your healthcare provider directly.