Dr. Scott Tamura was born in Los Angeles and has practiced dentistry in Marina Del Rey California for over 25 years. He is a member of the American Dental Association, California Dental Association, West Los Angeles Dental…
Most people know that to lift a heavy object, you should not bend over at the waist; but instead, keep your back straight, bend at the knees, and lift the object by straightening out your knees.
Because when your legs are straight, and you bend at the waist to pick up a heavy object, the stress of the full weight of the object is born by the muscles in your back. The anatomy of the muscles in our back was not designed to bear this much weight and you can injure muscles by stretching them in ways they were not designed to be stretched.
As a dentist who treats many patients with TMJ and Craniofacial Pain, I can tell you that the majority of my patients with TMJ also have neck pain. The scientific research reveals that approximately 70% of TMJ patients complain that their necks are sore with limited range of motion.
What does this have to do with lifting a heavy object?
Much like lifting a heavy object incorrectly can injure your back muscles, breathing incorrectly can injure your neck muscles. I am NOT saying that ALL neck pain is caused by incorrect breathing patterns; just that learning about the correct way to breathe, can help to decrease the stress and tension in your neck.
Inspiration Physiology (breathing) and Cervicogenic (neck) Pain
You have 12 ribs. They are connected in the back to your spine and the top 10 of them are connected in the front to your breastplate. Each rib is connected to the rib above and below by intercostal muscles and connective tissue. Because of this interconnectedness, when you move one rib, they will all move. Inside of the rib cage is the lungs. The lungs are attached to the inside of the rib cage by connective tissue. When the ribs move apart, they can open up the lungs and when the ribs collapse together, they can decrease lung volume.
There are two ways to breathe.
You can breathe up, or you can breathe out. Watch this video to learn which of these two methods is the correct way to breathe, and why breathing incorrectly can cause neck pain.
This is part one of a two part series. The second part will present some Neuromuscular Yoga exercises, that you can do at home, to help you learn how to breathe out, not up.
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