What is the Diaphragm?The diaphragm is your breathing muscle. It is a dome that is positioned under the rib cage and is connected to your lungs. As you breathe in it flattens downwards, as you breathe out it rises into a dome.
Why would a physio be interested in your diaphragm?
The diaphragm is just another muscles that can stop working effectively just like other muscles in the body.
Why would the diaphragm not be working effectively?
The diaphragm is greatly affected by stresses on the body and resultantly it has a big effect on your nervous system and the way the body functions.
If you watch a baby breathe, you will notice the rise and fall of their stomach. If you watch your stressed out colleague breathe, you will notice their shoulders rising and falling and chest heaving!
This has a very powerful link into physio as the breakdown of the bodies system can lead to tension and injury.
When you breathe into your chest and shoulders you are dominantly working in your sympathetic nervous system which is your ‘fight or flight’ system. This means your heart beats faster, your blood pressure increases and it prepares your body to react quickly, such as a cave man being attacked by a lion!
You will agree that this is not very necessary when you are just sitting at your desk at work. However, for many people who suffer with annoying constant injuries or tension this breathing pattern has become normal for them.
When you use your diaphragm to breathe you will notice your stomach rising and falling, just like a sleeping baby with no stressors in the world. Using the diaphragm switches on your parasympathetic nervous system, which is your rest and recovery system. This enables the body to relax any tension and heal any injuries.
Fortunately the physios at Bend and Mend are able to not only treat your physical injuries but also aid in reducing the impact life stressors have on the body!