The Importance of Breathing for Back Pain

Why is breathing so important for back pain?

girl sitting outside relaxing

Getting to the root cause of your pain is the most important key to getting over your back pain in the long term.

Muscular imbalances, seated/standing posture position, exercise and sleep levels are all possible ports of call in getting to the root cause of your back pain.

What can we do in the short term that will also help one of your root causes?

Just breathe (properly!)

While doing appropriate exercise, getting more comfortable sitting and standing  and avoiding aggravating activities are all good options, the one thing you can do throughout the entire day is improving your breathing pattern.

Researchers have consistently found a relationship between stress and back pain (Choi et al. 2001). 

Stress in the workplace or in social situations has been shown to be an important factor involved in low back pain Puschmann et al (2020)

A stressful state is associated with a more shortened and restrictive breathing pattern. This puts your body into a fight or flight state and increases your cortisol and adrenaline levels. 

This creates an involuntary tightening in the muscles and which in turn increases the amount of inflammation in your body. This occurs in the neck, shoulders, and down the spine. Prolonged tension in these areas can lead to back pain and, more specifically, lower back pain.

This is a vicious cycle that we want to avoid.

So how do we avoid this?

As stress appears to be a prevalent factor associated with back pain, optimal breathing is the  key to helping out with the effects of stress.

We recommend trying to breathe through your nose and focus on deepening and lengthening your breath.

move well, feel well, be well

We want a long inhale (4 -5 seconds) and an even longer exhale ( 6 – 7 seconds)

This will have many positive effects which include:

  • Relaxing your the muscles that are tense during back pain
  • Getting your body into a rest and digest state which is really important to assist with the healing process 
  • Increasing the movement of your ribcage, which can assist with moving your back with more ease

Give it a go today, you have all the equipment you need to do it right now!

Find out more great advice and take the first step to becoming pain free and download our free back pain guide HERE


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