Low Back Pain: Check Breathing Patterns

Breathing patterns can be seen and used in an assessment, incorporated into mobility or core exercises, and a vital way to improve upon the position of the rib cage.  While being at Endeavor it never ceases to amaze me how the coaches there have an unbelievable passion to learn and apply new ideas, philosophies, and concepts on a daily basis.  From USA Weightlifting, Precision Nutrition, FMS, Postural Restoration Institute (PRI), etc. there is always something we as coaches need to understand more or learn from scratch.  Case in point: Breathing.  OK, back to breathing patterns, athletes or clients with low back pain can be assessed in a variety of ways,  my friend and colleague David Lasnier wrote a great assessment of what to look for, check it out here: Assessing Faulty Breathing Patterns.

Thinking back to low back pain, how can rib position be causing this pain?  Look at the picture below.  Imagine if the ribs were stuck in a more “up” position (think: the front of the ribs pointing upwards instead of straight across each other).

Obviously it would look like you may be puffing your chest up but what also inherently happens?  Arching the back most likely, specifically at your thoraco-lumbar junction. Compensation or hypomobility is seen here with lack of t-spine mobility above.  Now can you picture the constant erector spinae contraction that if your are constantly hyperextended from the faulty rib position?  Hopefully, think Janda’s lower crossed syndrome too, well at least that is how I like to think of it, maybe I am wrong?         If you see someone who a big rib flair or inspiratory chest position, it may not mean they are HUGGGGEEEEE but that they do not understand how to stabilize their core effectively and may be simply compensating through the ribcage (T-L junction).  We can work on (1)getting the client or athlete to understand how to exhale fully which should depress the rib cage down and they should (2)be able to keep that position while performing upper limb movements.  Importantly, can the athlete maintain the “down position” of the rib cage while reaching arm(s) overhead?  Obviously, this can be a good indication that they may compensate with overhead movements/lifts which will further crank on that spine.  Assess those breathing patterns and see how it can affect your training.

Cheers,

Matt

 

 



Categories: Injury Prevention

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