Neck Pain and Headaches: Could it be your Breathing?

The shoulder stiffness, the neck pain and the headaches that come one for no apparent reason are usually the difficult ones to resolve. Often these problems do not respond to any medication and can be very worrying and be decreasing the quality of one’s life. In such cases, it is important to start with the basics.

One of the most basics things that can be addressed is how we breathe. Stress, cold, pain and anger can all cause us to clench our teeth and hike up our shoulders. The repetition of this is enough for us to pick up a faulty breathing pattern.

A faulty breathing pattern is one where we don’t use our abdomen and diaphragm to breathe. Instead, we breathe with our shoulder and neck muscles. These shoulder muscles which come from your shoulders to the base of your skull can produce pain locally or refer pain to the head. This is common in stressful situations and correcting it can help reduce stress, avoid neck pain and headaches.

A great example of a good breathing pattern is a baby when it is sleeping because we can see that their tummy is moving up and down as they breathe without any tension. We are all capable of this as it is a movement pattern is engraved within our brain along with other basic movement patterns.

The first step is to recognize that we are all guilty of breathing with our shoulders at times.

Usually, when someone is asked to take a very deep breath, they hike up their shoulders as high as they can to open the lungs and the rib cage. This creates the tension and it is faulty.

The correct way to do this is as follows:

1. Sitting, standing or laying

2. Put one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen

3. Take a deep breath through your nose and see which one moves more

4. When inhaling, it is the hand on your stomach that should move more as your diaphragm drops down and your abdomen comes forward to that position we always avoid on pictures

5. When exhaling our abdomen should come in while the diaphragm rises, air exits out of your lungs

6. The hand on your chest will move up and down but minimally compared to the abdomen

7. Repeat daily for a few minutes to get best results

 

We have created a video for you teaching you how to breathe properly.

We hope these breathing exercises will help you reduce your neck pain and headaches. Please do not hesitate to contact our Fornham Chiropractic Clinic on 01284 220202 in case the symptoms do not diminish.