Why The Way You Breath Can Affect Your Back Pain

Dave O’Sullivan | February 25, 2020

What I want to talk about in today’s blog is something that I cover in depth in my new book “Beating Back Pain “Without Pills, Injections And Surgery” and that is how your respiratory system that is how you breathe can influence your back pain.

Now, I know that might sound a little bit strange but if you were to walk into an England Rugby Union physio room, or in a hotel by the Six Nations or in Japan, you would’ve seen a lot of players doing a lot of breathing exercises and blowing up a lot of balloons.

Now, that might sound very strange, but actually why it’s really important is because your diaphragm and your pelvic floor are the two muscles that set the top and bottom of your torso.

So a lot of people try to strengthen their transverse abdominals and their obliques. They do lots of core exercises, they do Pilates to try eliminate their back pain, but what we forget a lot about is the two muscles that close the cylinder so to speak, which is the diaphragm and the pelvic floor.

Now, if you want your transverse abdominis to work well and you might’ve tried pulling your belly button in before, well, in order for your transverse abdominis to contract to the best of its ability, your diaphragm has to be out to lengthen.

Now, what I find with a lot of patients that come here with lower back pain, is that they’re often out of breath, they’re talking very quickly, they’re in a lot of pain.
When they go to move, what’s the first thing they do?..

They hold their breath and then they go to move. If they wanna pick something up they hold their breaths.

Now, the problem when we hold our breath is that we’re shortening and tightening, so to speak, our diaphragm.

So if you want your obliques, you want your transverse abdominis, you want all these core muscles to be able to contract effectively, we need your diaphragm to lengthen.

But most people do the complete opposite which is when we take a breath in we try to tighten everything because again, the anticipation of pain et cetera, but in actual fact this is the complete opposite to what we need to do.

So in my book “Beating Back Pain “Without Pills, Injections And Surgeries” I talk a lot about the importance of getting a full exhalation as we want that diaphragm to lengthen to give our abdominal muscles, our glute muscles the best chance to contract the way they were designed to contract.

Now, of course for physiotherapy, all of our therapists here, our physios or sports therapists, whoever you see here at the clinic, they are trained in exactly this approach, they are trained in the exact approach that I use with the England rugby team that I’ve used in Japan, that I’ve used in the Six Nations, that I’ve used in Australia, with the England Rugby League, and with some of the trickiest cases that we’ve had.

So again, with professional sport athletes, a lot of these guys they will have disc bulges, they will have issues with their nerve roots they will have sciatica, but what we can do very quickly and safely, is we can find out what’s driving this problem for them, get the whole body to work as one and then we can get them back out there and get them back into contact sports.

Now, for a lot of people that aren’t professional athletes you can still access the high level of care that these guys get right here in the clinic at ProSport Physiotherapy.

My mission at ProSport Physiotherapy, is to give the general public of Huddersfield and surrounding areas, an opportunity to access the World class treatment that professional athletes get on a daily basis.

If you’ve got back pain, that’s failed traditional approaches, if you’ve tried Pilates, If you’ve tried yoga, if you’ve tried sucking your belly button in, if you’ve tried the core exercises and you still have back pain, then click on the button below and come in and have a chat for a FREE discovery session, absolutely no obligation

This is so that you can come in and have a chat. If you’re a bit sceptical that we can help you because you’ve been around the houses that’s absolutely and completely normal.

Yes! I Want A FREE Running Discovery Session


(WORTH £70)

We get that all the time.
That’s why we do a discovery session!
You can come in, you can get an assessment and there won’t be any treatment or anything like that, because it’s a discovery session it isn’t an actual treatment session, but you can have an opportunity to get assessed, and we can give an honest opinion of what we think is causing the problem.

We’ll also give an honest opinion of how long it’s gonna take.
So we’re not going to say to somebody who’s had back pain for five or six years, we’ll be able to sort this in two or three sessions… That’s not going to happen, it’s probably gonna take a little bit longer than that.

BUT what you will get at the end of the discovery session is you get an honest opinion and you’ll get a plan of what we would like to do to get this issue sorted and get you back to whether that’s lifting your grandkids, picking up something without having to hold your breath, being able to do gardening for hours, whatever you enjoy doing in life, we’ll design a treatment plan specific to that, so you’re not gonna get a cookie cutter, one-size-fits-all approach here at ProSport Physiotherapy Huddersfield.


(WORTH £70)

Or if you want, if you’re not quite ready to come in for a discovery session, and you want a copy of my book and we’ll see what we can do and get you a book sent out to you if we’ve got some copies in stock with our compliments.


(WORTH £14.99)

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