Breathing, are you doing it correctly? Advice and tips from our Chiropractors


What our Chiropractors are noticing more and more frequently in our practice members from Dandenong, Narre Warren, Hallam and Berwick.

Not something most of us really think about. It just happens right. How can you get it wrong?

Take a deep breath in and what do you notice? Did your chest and shoulders lift up and your belly suck in?

Unfortunately, that’s wrong, but you’re not alone. Most people I see do get it wrong, but they’ve been conditioned that way.

The correct way to breathe is from your belly. What they call diaphragmatic breathing. But this is hard to do when you’re hunched forward.

So when we are stuck behind a desk for longer and longer periods as a child we soon learn to shoulder breathe, lifting our shoulders and chest, so we can still get some oxygen in. Probably a good thing that we are still breathing but it’s not efficient. 

By not using our diaphragm well we are not filling all of our lungs and it also puts a lot of tension on the muscles of the neck and shoulder as they are doing most of the work. These muscles are called accessory or secondary breathing muscles. Unfortunately, most of us are using them first.

No wonder they’re tight.

So how should we breathe?

If we use our diaphragm correctly it should push downwards increasing the space in our chest cavity allowing our lungs to expand. It also means our belly pushes out, not in, when we breathe in.

Here’s an exercise they teach singers to get them breathing better:

  • Sit tall so you’re not hunched over.
  • Place your hands sideways with your palms on your belly and the tips of your middle fingers just touching.
  • Now take a deep breath in and make your fingers move apart.

It might be difficult to get at first and you might have to really concentrate, but if you can get your fingers to move apart you’ve got it, that’s belly breathing. Congratulations. 

This diagram highlights how the diaphragm should move when utilising correct breathing technique.

Practice this exercise for 5 minutes every night and after about 3 weeks you’ll notice that you are just belly breathing without needing to think about it. 

However, if you feel like your neck and shoulder muscles are constantly tight and sore, which as mentioned above- impacts your ability to breathe correctly with our belly and diaphragm, then there may be a shift within the structure of your spine and your ribs correspondingly.

Structural shifts within the spine, which chiropractors label vertebral subluxations, affect the ability of the spine and ribs to move and function correctly.

At Sims and Finn, our focus is called Neuro-Structural Correction, the purpose of which is to correct the presence of these underlying shifts.

Our chiropractors are more than happy to answer any questions you have regarding the health of your spine and the relationship it has with your nervous system.

To make an appointment, please either book online via our website, or call our friendly staff.

Sims & Finn Chiropractic

52 Stud Road, Dandenong 3175

(03) 9792 1945

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