Hello friends! Are you aware of your breath? When you take a deep breath in, what’s happening in your body? What about when you breath out? Can you feel the difference between taking a “normal” breath and a deep breath? Breathing, while seemingly easy, can be complex!
Why do we care about our breath? Breathing is often one of the first things a pelvic floor therapist will teach you—especially if you are dealing with conditions like pelvic pain or constipation.
The diaphragm is a large muscle and it sits just under the ribcage and spans from the chest bone in the front to the spine in the back. When using our diaphragm to breath, it moves downward as we inhale and upward as we exhale. As the diaphragm comes down, it can help to gently stretch the pelvic floor muscles with downward pressure (without bulging/pushing!).
This is a great breathing technique to use when dealing with pelvic floor issues. Using diaphragm breathing can help improve the effectiveness of pelvic floor stretches/exercises. On the other hand, chest breathing can lead to tightness in the ribs, spine, and muscles of the trunk contributing to pelvic pain.
Watch the video below to learn how to perform diaphragm breathing.
Here are some great resources to help you learn more about your pelvic floor muscles:
Breathing: Beyond the Lungs with Dr. Kelli Wilson PT, DPT, FAAOMPT, OCS
The Rib Cage and How it Can Affects Pelvic Pain with Michelle Nesin PT, FAAOMPT, OCS, FCFMT Pelvic Education Alliance
The Diaphragm and Its Contribution to Pelvic Pain with Michelle Nesin PT, FAAOMPT, OCS, FCFMT Pelvic Education Alliance
Written by Emily Reul, PT, DPT