Did you know that tight muscles can restrict your breathing? For some people it might be hard to take a full breath. For others, breathing can become painful. In some cases, the problem can become so intense that breathing difficulty from tight muscles can be mistaken for a heart attack. Of course, anyone who has difficulty breathing should make an appointment with their primary care doctor first to make sure it isn't something more serious. If this problem is very intense, a trip to the emergency room may be warranted. If this is a chronic condition (and you have been checked by a primary care doctor) massage may help bring some relief and can restore unhindered breathing.
So what causes breathing problems? Several variables can play into why people have breathing issues. Some people have a hard time breathing when they get a cold, have sinusitis (hard to breath through inflamed sinuses), allergies, or asthma. Those who suffer from fibromyalgia may also be affected by chronic tightened muscles that help with breathing. In more serious conditions, breathing can become difficult with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, chronic bronchitis, lung diseases, and lung cancer. That is why it's always important to get input from your doctor first before choosing other options for relieving breathing difficulty.
When your doctor says theres nothing wrong with your respiratory system or sinuses, thats where I can step in to help. With massage, I can work on the muscles of respiration which include the diaphragm, intercostals, pectoralis, sternocleidomastoid, scalenes, trapezius, and serratus anterior & posterior. I don't expect you to know what any of those muscles are, but in lamens terms, I would massage muscles of the neck, upper back, chest, rib cage, and abdominal muscles. I would use trigger point therapies and myofascial release on contracted muscle to loosen and bring relief to those tight muscles. Below is a diagram of some of these muscles and their function where it comes to breathing:
So just like in other parts of the body, when any of these muscles are super tight it can affect their function. As you can see, their are several muscles that assist with breathing; which if restricted will make breathing more difficult. Do you have chronic breathing problems? Make an appointment today so that we can discuss how massage can possibly help you!