The importance of paradoxal breathing
Paradoxal breathing is inhaling with the abdomen drawn in and narrowing of the lower ribcage. In these cases, the costal parts of the diaphragm move upward and the crural part downward (see video).
The opposite movement occurs during exhalation.
The cause of dysfunctional breathing can be physical or psychological and often difficult to separate. Causes can be postural, developmental, medical or emotional.
When we see this paradoxal breathing pattern, we know that there is:
- Less protection of the lumbar spine, so more exaggerated curves in the spine.
- High diaphragm which increases the thoracic kyphosis.
- Intrathoracic fascial retractions that can pull on cervical structures.
Postural assessment (in relation with the diaphragm) can be indicative for the quality of the core stabilization and thus for diaphragm function. The position of chest and pelvic area are important for diaphragm function.
The often-seen combination of elevated chest and anterior rotated pelvis compromises proper stabilization of the core.