What a great turnout at Soul Yoga Studio in Greenville, South Carolina for our Anatomy of Breathing Workshop!
We discussed breathing anatomy, proper stabilization strategy, compensations and consequences, developmental kinesiology, joint centration, and applied what we learned in key yoga positions. Special thank you to Rich Ulm, Brett Winchester, and Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization for their knowledge and willingness to teach others.
Why would a chiropractor be so interested in breathing? That’s simple – it’s fundamental and essential in the way that we stabilize the human body!
“If breathing is not normalized, no other movement pattern can be!” @ Karel Lewit
Let’s break down a little anatomy!
The diaphragm is the most important muscle for stabilization, respiration, and locomotion. The diaphragm not only acts as the main inspiratory muscle but also as the primary stabilizer of the lumbar spine. As the diaphragm descends during inspiration to make space for the lungs to fill, it creates an increase in pressure below it.
The transverse abdominis works eccentrically in inspiration to contribute to intra-abdominal pressure and increased lumbopelvic stability. This activity must occur in concert with the diaphragm and pelvic floor.
The pelvic floor is the basement of the abdominal canister. If there is a lack of integrity of the pelvic floor this will lead to the inability to maintain intra-abdominal pressure. The diaphragm must have something to push against!
The erector spinae is a massively powerful muscle running from the pelvis to the occiput. It is divided into three divisions: spinalis, longissimus and iliocostalis. Dysfunction can be common here as defined by Rich Ulm DC, in the Extension/Compression Stabilizing Strategy (ECSS). This occurs when someone uses hyperactivity of the spinal erectors and hip flexors to stabilize, instead of proper intra-abdominal pressure patterns.
Now that we know our anatomy, the challenge becomes using these muscles together in concert instead of soloists. We must learn how to create a proper stabilizing strategy. This is done through generating pressure, sequencing the events properly, having great rib position, and solid biomechanics.
We first must have a concentric contraction of the diaphragm, which generates the outward-pushing force within the abdomen, then second, we need the abdominal wall & pelvic floor to eccentrically activate.
If our breathing and stabilization strategy is incorrect, there are many common compensations – hyperactive spinal erectors, increased lumbar lordosis, and an open scissor position with oblique positioning of the diaphragm and pelvic floor. This can lead to complications up and down the kinematic chain:
- Lumbopelvic Instability
- Increased Disc Pressure
- Poor Thoracic Extension
- Hip Instability
- Decreased Scapular Control
- Chronic Back Tightness
- Decreased Leg Power
- Neck Pain
- Knee Instability
How can we prevent these issues? Give us a call or send us an email and we can teach you how to decrease pain, move better, and improve performance.
Our Greenville chiropractor is the team chiro for the Hincapie Racing team, Greenville Drive, Greenville Triumph, and PGA Tour Pros. We treat the full spectrum from professional athletes to hard-working moms, to people who have failed surgical interventions. Be on the lookout for another breathing course soon!