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Ribs - Their Role in Breathing

Ribs role in breathing

If you are a person who gets anxious or stressed, this can build into muscle tension and stiffness within your ribcage which affects all areas of the body.

Breathing is something which is automatic and we often don't realise we are doing it until we change our breathing pattern such as after a run or are stressed/anxious about something.

Our ribs which cover our lungs (from our waist to our collarbone) assist in the motion of breathing, and changes in rib function, such as stiffness or immobility, can lead to changes in how we breath.

What do ribs do?

The ribs have 3 main roles:

  • Protection of vital organs such as liver, kidneys, heart and lungs

  • Provide a supportive framework for the body and foundation of core stability

  • Assist in breathing to increase the space inside your ribcage to make room for air

Effects of ribs not functioning as best they can

When your ribcage becomes stiff from lack of exercise or stretching this can lead to muscle weakness throughout the body as well as aches and pains in different areas.

Common areas of pain caused from ribs not functioning correctly

Pinching behind the shoulder blades

Pain radiating around torso

Pain upon breathing in or out

Exercise to increase awareness of rib movements and get your body functioning better

  1. Place one hand on chest

  2. Place other hand on stomach

  3. Isolate your in-breath into your upper hand only

  4. Breath out

  5. Switch by isolating your breath into your lower hand only

  6. Breath out

  7. Repeat these steps several times throughout each day to increase your awareness of how you breath

Being able to breath into either area voluntarily will assist in rib mobility and better functionality of your body in every day life.

When we are stressed or anxious, we usually breath using our upper ribs. So if we control our breathing to a slow steady rate using our lower ribs, then we can affect our stress levels.

As Osteopaths we can increase the amount of air you breath, improve rib movements and decongest the tension which builds up in the respiratory (breathing) muscles.

This includes removing the effects of stress and anxiety on the body and can also help you sleep better. We can equip you with tools to use to get through stressful periods and also to allow your body to perform even better.

To book an appointment with Dr Simon Tasker call 0425 876 929 or BOOK ONLINE HERE

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