Fact: every cell needs a constantly refreshing supply of oxygen to perform cellular respiration and provide your body and biological systems they need to keep moving forward. Getting this oxygen to the cells is a complicated process that our body takes care of for us: in fact, humans take in breath around an average of 20,000 times a day. The diaphragm is the unsung hero of the breathing process which may have a legitimate claim for the title of most important muscle in the body. The sheet of muscle that separates the thorax from the abdomen is the main power source for the respiratory system and it intakes oxygen in the following way:
- Expanding the rib cage through positive intra-abdominal pressure
- Expanding the rib cage, using the abdomen as the fulcrum
- Decreasing intrapleural pressure, which determines whether or not air moves into the lungs.
Accessory muscles in the breathing process, including the abdomen are also important, but not quite as essential as the diaphragm for drawing breath. Potential causes for diaphragm dysfunction that can be treated by the chiropractor include:
- Interference with the phrenic nerve, which exits from the spine between C3 and C5
- Poor posture
- Improper breathing technique
- Weakness of accessory muscles
Breathing properly means better circulation, helping oxygen enter the blood stream easier and for carbon dioxide to leave more efficiently. The diaphragm should be accountable for 70-80% of each breath drawn and to this end, dysfunction should be prevented. At Holmes Chiropractic, we can help you learn the essentials of proper breathing, which rest heavily on posture, help you to tone the muscles involved and address any spinal imbalance that may be interfering with the function of the phrenic nerve. Give our office in Houston a call to schedule an appointment today!
Dr. Randall Holmes, D.C.