When looking at how to breathe properly, there are a few key principles and methods to employ to be efficient, and with practice, ideally proficient. Firstly, you must understand that breathing should primarily be achieved by the diaphragm. You need to become aware of your diaphragm and master that muscle. Now, it is obvious to note that breathing happens naturally…it is not a movement per say that we consciously need to think about in order for it to happen. Nonetheless, we can still be breathing, yet incorrectly. Here is a list of some things you should aim to feel and see happen when breathing correctly:
With your hand placed on your side, below your ribs, you should feel your abdomen expand into your hand when you breathe in and relax back in when breathing out. This rhythm of expansion/relaxation is what should be happening 24/7 with casual/tidal breathing.
You should feel that expansion happens all the way around your abdomen—360 degrees, so that you are training your diaphragm to move downwards symmetrically—in the same way that when you blow up a balloon every side evenly expands outward as air fills the empty balloon.
Ideally, you should feel minimal movement of your chest and shoulders up towards your head, and minimal activation of your neck muscles.
This should feel as though you are pulling air deep into your lower abdomen or pelvis, not like you are reaching/gasping for air.
Remember to breathe low and slow. There’s no need to try and take large, deep breaths starting out, you’ll wear yourself out and you’ll naturally breathe more with a chest-dominant breathing pattern.
Now that we have discussed how to breathe correctly, let’s go through some of the reasons diaphragmatic breathing is important and why you should care to become a better breather:
Breathing properly can aid with:
Decreasing pain (especially in the muscles around the base of your neck)
Looking back there was a providential process that led me into the Chiropractic profession. Initially, I was exposed to chiropractic at the age of seventeen as a senior in high school. My family had never gone to a chiropractor, and I did not really have an opinion about the profession. At the time of my senior year, I was training for cross country season as well as doing CrossFit, and I ended up with a slowly worsening low back injury. Looking back, I was running quite a bit on uneven terrain, and with CrossFit I was lifting a lot of heavy weight with less than adequate core strength—which could have been the contributing factors to my pain; nonetheless, I was beginning to hurt, badly. Every time I tried to run, I was hurting with the impact of my foot striking the ground, every day sitting in class the pain became more and more nagging, and I even reached a point that deep breathing was uncomfortable.
I had tried ice, ice baths, heat, electrical stimulation, and ibuprofen at the counsel of my school athletic trainer, but with zero progress, so I went to my local primary care provider. He performed no musculoskeletal exam and quickly prescribed me muscle relaxers…which did absolutely nothing. The traditional medical model had failed me.
So…I went to a chiropractor, and he actually examined me and thoroughly explained to me why I was feeling what I was feeling. One of the wise sayings I still remember him telling me was that “no amount of drug or chemical could ever fix your mechanical problem.” After a few adjustments and some therapeutic exercise interventions I had no more low back pain and I was back to CrossFit with a stronger core than ever before.
Going into undergraduate I was a clinical kinesiology major, and I had my eyes set on physical therapy school. Chiropractic was not necessarily off my radar; I just did not know anything about the profession. After much research, I ended up making the switch to become a Doctor of Chiropractic—here are some of the main reasons:
Firstly, based on the results I had with it helping me out of the worst musculoskeletal issue I have ever had. Secondly, I learned that there is a level of autonomy that a Doctor of Chiropractic has, and that was appealing, as well as the benefit of being more of a portal of entry provider. Thirdly and lastly, I knew that with chiropractic I would still be able to do all the physical rehabilitation that I loved and wanted to do, but more so, to cultivate exceptional palpatory skills unmatched by any other profession. I genuinely believe Chiropractors are the greatest in the world regarding manual care skills. And I honestly believe chiropractors are at the front line to be the go-to portal of entry providers for our communities regarding neuromusculoskeletal complaints and preventative care.
Hey everyone. It’s Dr. Hurley at Hurley Chiropractic. We’re talking about this topic of chronic pain. And as a chiropractor, I work with those who experience chronic pain every single day. It is one of the most rewarding parts of my job to be able to help somebody who has chronic pain to get some relief or to manage their symptoms. But it’s also very bittersweet part of my job, and I’ll get to the bittersweet part here in a little bit. But I do have a message for everybody out there that experiences chronic pain. My message is give yourself some grace, please be easy on yourself. Please recognize that what you are doing every single day is harder because you have chronic pain. It’s more draining, it’s more exhausting. And it takes more effort to plan your day’s activities, to plan your fun social activities as well as your daily living activities and chores around your pain to manage it. And if you’re someone that chronically experiences pain, you may not even realize you are doing it.
So I’m going to give some examples. If you plan your social outings, maybe when you go to the movies, you choose certain seating to help minimize your discomfort while you’re watching the movie. If you plan your chores, like your grocery shopping and your cooking on separate days, because long periods of standing drains you or exacerbates your chronic pain. If you are planning your daily life around needing breaks or needing to manage your pain. That’s a lot. And so I do want to give all of you this message. If you relate to this topic of chronic pain, give yourself some grace. Take care of yourself and recognize that you are doing so much more than you think you’re doing. If you feel like you’re not getting enough done on your to-do list, or you feel frustrated or hopeless looking around thinking of all the things you’ve got to do. And you do not have the energy or the strength, or even the endurance of not wanting to exacerbate your pain to do that. Just take a minute to pat yourself on the back and take care of yourself.
Hey, everyone. It’s Dr. Emily Hurley. I am so excited to share with you today. Our talk is about level three of the dynamic body balancing series that I took over the last couple of years. And level three class when I went to Dallas and trained with Dr. Carol Phillips was all about pregnancy and birth. I think everyone knows that I am so passionate about helping pregnant moms. And what some of you may not know is I even offer home visit services to help moms during labor, if laboring at home, and if birthing at home to also help during the birth as well. So this is something that is near and dear to my heart. And this series that I took, the dynamic body balancing was a complete game changer for how I treat my pregnant moms. And it is huge for helping moms to balance their bodies in order to get ready for birth.
So we actually unwind the hips, the sacrum, we unwind the uterus. So we could do so many things to create balance in moms throughout pregnancy in order to prepare their bodies for birth. So it’s been really amazing to see the results of this. This is where I am so passionate that every single pregnant mom in the world I wish could be getting this dynamic body balancing and doing unwinding throughout their pregnancy.
It is absolutely amazing to see the results of it. One of the coolest, most immediate results that I got to be a part of an experience was at a recent home birth I was at. So we have two doulas in our office that are also training to be midwives, Nicole and [inaudible 00:02:02]. They are apprentice mid midwives, and they were at a home birth and they gave me a call and said, “This mom, she’s been laboring all night and all day. And the baby’s just not engaging in the pelvis. Baby feels like they’re almost diagonal, like stuck into the right hip. So the contractions are inconsistent. Labor’s just not progressing. And we really feel like mom needs to be balanced out.”
So I was able to go, I did adjust mom. I did adjust between the contractions and I do it however the mom is most comfortable. I can adjust while they’re standing, while they’re laying on their side, while they’re on all fours, while they’re on a birthing ball. When I go to births, it’s not the type of chiropractic care that you imagine where you lay face down on the table, we twist, pop and crack. That might not be something that moms think that they would want during birth.
However, the beauty of the birthing process is to tune into whatever the mom’s body needs and where the mom is at that time. So that is one of the really cool things that I get to do is be very adaptable and tune in with the mom in however they’re feeling in order to get her adjusted and help to get her balanced out. So I did do some adjusting, and then I did some unwinding. We did unwinding in her hips, her uterus, and unwound her legs and the sacrum. And it was pretty cool to see the instant results that this mom… the baby had not been in the ideal position all night, all day and after about 30 minutes of the adjusting and the unwinding that the midwives were able to palpate and say, “Oh, the baby’s head down now and right in the center.” So that was really amazing experience and very cool to see some instant results of once mom’s body is balanced out, then the baby can get in the right position.
Now again, I always, always, always try to emphasize this to my moms and to the birth professionals that I work with. I am not manipulating the baby’s position. That would be outside of my scope. I’m not trying to move baby or reposition baby. Same thing when we work with breach moms. Chiropractic, Webster care, and unwinding does amazing things for helping balance mom’s body. And typically, if a baby is breech, they will often go head down into a cephalic presentation when the mom’s body is balanced.
But in those cases, it’s the same thing. I am not trying to turn the baby. I am not manipulating the baby at all. I am balancing the mom. I’m balancing her pelvis, her muscles, her ligament, and balancing her [inaudible 00:04:57] system and then the baby can get into the right. It’s intuitive for baby. It’s what they will do naturally if the mom’s body is balanced in most cases. So that was really amazing. And the cool thing was, the midwives hadn’t shared with me beforehand, but they were getting to the point where mom’s blood pressure was starting to creep a little higher than it had been and baby’s heart rate was just slightly on the end of what they were wanting to see.
So they were starting to have those red flags in their mind of, is this safe or is this going to have to be a hospital birth? So they took the vitals directly after we finished our unwinding and adjusting. And for the vitals to be perfect and the baby’s position to be so much improved instantly was such a cool and instant result to get to see.
This kind of work is also great for if moms are having back labor, if the contractions are inconsistent, if baby’s position is not ideal. Basically anything in labor that might not be going great, may be benefited from getting mom’s body balanced out. I will say I only do birth work, labor work, home visits for moms that have been under my care during pregnancy. So if it’s something you think you might be interested in, please come and get established as a patient. Let’s get you adjusted. Let’s do some unwinding.
Because what I really learned from this experience was it was great and very cool to get to work on balancing out this mom and making such a big difference in this birth experience for her. But it taught me the lesson that I need to be doing it sooner and more often throughout pregnancy. So that hopefully if you’re a mom, [inaudible 00:06:48] need me during the birth, and if you do, your body’s already used to being balanced out and used to getting this work done so that we can make really, really quick changes and have some really cool impacts on how these births are going.
And in turn how these babies are being born and the health of the baby’s bodies as well. So this is what I love to do. Every single mom absolutely needs to get adjusted, absolutely needs to get some body balance thing done. And I also always, always throw in that every single mom needs a doula. These midwives and doulas, they were able to recognize, this is a time that adjustments might help. And even if moms think about it ahead of time, and we talk about it ahead of time, and I tell them, “Please text me when you’re in labor.” It all goes out the window and they don’t remember to call me. They don’t remember, their partner doesn’t remember. They’re all caught up in the moment. So having a doula really helps you to remember what are your options, helps you to support you, helps you to feel really secure and certain, and guided along the way during your pregnancy and birth experience, any even postpartum support as well.
So if you want a recommendation for doula in your area, if you’re pregnant and want a recommendation for a chiropractor in your area that does Webster technique, or if you want to find out if there is any dynamic body balancing practitioners in your area as well, please reach out to me. I’d love to be able to help direct you to those resources on our blog. I will also post links to those directories so that if you are not in Conway, Arkansas, or in Central Arkansas area, but you still would like to get adjusted and to do some of this body balancing, I would love to be able to help you with that.
So reach out to me, call my office. Send us a message on social media or go to these links that I’m going to post with the directory so that you can hopefully have a beautiful and healthy pregnancy. And also send this to your friends that might be pregnant. Send this to any pregnant mom. Empower them and let them know that there’s a lot they can do to get their bodies balanced down to prepare for birth. Okay. Thanks, everyone.