It can be a frightening experience not being able to ‘catch your breath’ whilst attempting a basic task such as walking upstairs or holding a conversation with a friend. Sometimes this is related to a diagnosed chest problem but sometimes it can be related to on adopted habit stemming from all sorts of things such as anxiety, sore tummy, surgery or allergies. If we do not use the right muscles to gain a rhythmical easy breathing pattern we can start to struggle when our bodies are challenged with higher levels of activity.
Breathing is usually 70-80 percent reliant on the diaphragm. This domed shape muscle sits under the heart and lungs and moves to flatten as we draw breath in to the whole of the lungs. You can check if this happens to you by placing one hand on your tummy just under the rib cage. If you are using the diaphragm effectively you will feel your tummy rise as you inhale and your shoulders and upper chest will remain relaxed and quiet. People with breathing problems often only use the top of their lungs in which case you will feel very little tummy movement but lots of movement and tension of the upper chest area and shoulders. This is not a very efficient way of breathing and can lead to feelings of breathlessness or needing to breathe faster even at rest.
It is also a good idea to recognise if you are breathing using your mouth or in and out through your nose. Breathing using the nose is best as the nose can filter the air, humidify it and regulate your breathing pattern which mouth breathing does not do.
If you feel you need any further information or assessment of your breathing control or if you are experiencing respiratory problems after Covid-19, please contact the clinic for an appointment.