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  • Writer's pictureEduardo Picasso

Cervical contractures and the influence of breathing (Part 1)

When we breathe, different muscles contract, and thanks to this, the thoracic cage is mobilized, allowing air to enter and exit our lungs. There are main muscles of respiration (diaphragm) and other accessories, so called because they help the former (when necessary). The accessory respiratory muscles of the neck (Scalenes, Sternocleidomastoids, Trapezius, etc.) help us breathe faster for short periods of time. On the other hand, if we constantly (or very frequently) breathe rapidly, they become overloaded and fatigued, which can cause pain. It's the same thing that happens to the leg muscles after running a long distance. If we rest, the pain in the legs disappears, and the same happens with the muscles of the neck and shoulders: if we breathe more slowly, we allow them to rest, recover, and relax. On the other hand, by breathing too fast we generate greater amounts of adrenaline, producing a feeling of agitation and restlessness. As for fatigue, breathing too fast can exhaust us. More and more doctors and psychologists are recommending breathing exercises to relax (there is a growing interest in “breathing the right way”). Yoga, meditation and mindfulness are becoming more and more popular and there is increasing scientific evidence of the beneficial effects of breathing exercises and meditation. Science is building a bridge between ancient meditation techniques and Western medicine. In the next post we will talk about a specific breathing exercise, which applied for a few minutes can significantly change our physiology.


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