Breathing Better for Lower Back Relief

Lower back pain is a widespread issue, affecting a significant portion of the population at some point in their lives. In fact, it’s so prevalent that more than a quarter of Americans grapple with this discomfort daily. Often, this pain tends to recur within a year if the root causes aren’t addressed.

One frequently overlooked contributor to lower back pain is dysfunctional breathing. The diaphragm, our primary muscle for breathing, is centrally located and connects directly to both the lumbar spine and the ribs. Its role extends beyond mere respiration; it’s pivotal for core stability as well. Thus, evaluating the diaphragm’s function is essential when tackling lower back pain.

The dual responsibility of the diaphragm in both respiration and core stabilization means that an imbalance in its functioning can lead to discomfort. For instance, long-distance runners might experience the diaphragm focusing solely on breathing under extreme fatigue, neglecting its stabilizing duties and leading to lower back pain. Conversely, during heavy lifting, where breath holding is common, the diaphragm might prioritize spinal stabilization, inadvertently overburdening other muscles with the task of breathing. This shift often results in the lower back muscles being overworked, contributing to pain.

Breathing patterns directly influence the diaphragm’s ability to manage internal pressure. When this balance is off, core muscles may not function optimally, forcing other muscles, particularly those in the lower back and hip flexors, to compensate. These compensating muscles then become chronically tight due to their increased workload. If years of stretching haven’t eased this tightness, it’s time to reassess your breathing patterns.

Mastering proper breathing and core control is vital for the long-term well-being of your lower back. Here’s a simple exercise to evaluate and improve your breathing technique:

  1. Sit comfortably in a chair, allowing your back to maintain a natural, slightly rounded posture.
  2. Keep your gaze forward, with your tongue resting just behind your top teeth on the hard palate.
  3. Place your hands, palms up, on your knees, positioning your fingers over your thumbs.
  4. Coordinate your breathing with your toes: inhale and lift your toes, then exhale and press them down.
  5. Focus on allowing your chest to expand during inhalation without lifting your shoulders, and let it fall naturally as you exhale.

Remember, experiencing lower back pain doesn’t always signify an injury or damage to the back. Often, simply improving your breathing mechanics and learning new movement patterns can offer relief and enhance your spinal stability.

Beyond alleviating back pain, optimizing your breathing brings a host of other benefits, including improved physical and cognitive performance, reduced stress effects, better sleep quality, enhanced digestion, regulated blood pressure, and a stronger immune system. So, take a deep breath and embark on the journey to a pain-free back and a healthier life.

Begin Your Wellness Journey in Three Simple Steps

Schedule Your Consultation

Schedule your first appointment with ease using our online booking system.


Enjoy a Complimentary 30-Minute Consult

Your initial consult is a free 30-minute session to explore the best Wellness Plan tailored to your needs.

Embark on Your Plan

Select your Wellness Plan during our consult, and we'll arrange all necessary follow-ups to start your journey to well-being.

Other Questions?

(208) 946-2620

111 South 3rd Ave., Suite 9, Sandpoint, ID 83864