proper breathing

Proper Breathing and Back Pain

One of the most important parts of yoga therapy is proper breathing. The effectiveness of yoga therapy on back pain has been researched and published recently in Spine and according to the study, there has been a significant improvement in terms of the intensity of the symptom, depression, and amount of medication use in patients after therapy (Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2009 Sep 1;34(19):2066-76).

There has also been a study by Mehling et al.,  published in 2005 that emphasises the potential benefits of proper breathing exercises in relieving backache. In this study, they used a group of chronic low back pain patients. These patients were grouped in two; one group received a six- to eight-week breath therapy exercise lessons, and the other received traditional physical therapy (Altern Ther Health Med. 2005 Jul-Aug;(4):44-52). It was found that both groups have reported improvement in their condition.

proper breathing

. Andrew Weil, an integrative medicine expert, believes that breathing exercises can indeed benefit backaches. According to him:

“I’m impressed by the power of breath and its ability to correct specific health problems and promote our general wellness. Proper breathing is a master key to good health.”

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to do basic breathing exercises properly.


Breathing exercises such as this one should be done twice a day or whenever you find your mind dwelling on upsetting thoughts or when you are experiencing pain.

  • Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. When you take a deep breath in, the hand on the abdomen should rise higher than the one on the chest. This helps to reinforce that goal of having the diaphragm is pulling air into the bases of the lungs.
  • After exhaling through the mouth, take a slow deep breath in through your nose imagining that you are sucking in all the air in the room and hold it for a count of 7 (or as long as you are able, not exceeding 7)
  • Slowly exhale through your mouth for a count of 8. As all the air is released with relaxation, gently contract your abdominal muscles to completely evacuate the remaining air from the lungs.  It is important to remember that we deepen respiration not by inhaling more air but through completely exhaling it.

Repeat the cycle four more times for a total of 5 deep breaths and try to breathe at a rate of one breath every 10 seconds (or 6 breaths per minute). At this rate our heart rate variability increases which has a positive effect on cardiac health.

Improper breathing is one of the first things that chiropractors notice in patients with chronic back pain. At the Back Doctor Chiropractic Clinic in Chester, we teach patients the proper way to breathe, and make you understand the connection between poor breathing and chronic back pain. We guide the patients to use the diaphragm and not just the chest when breathing.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.