Muscle pain, whether it be from an injury or as part of a chronic condition, can be a debilitating condition to live with every day. For many people, small movements and simple tasks such as walking can be easily taken for granted. However, for those suffering with constant muscle pain, the smallest tasks can often be the most difficult.
If you’re suffering with regular muscle pain, you’ll have likely sought out many different ways to cope with the pain. For those with more mild cases of muscle pain, certain creams or heat patches may provide the much needed relief. However, for people with more intense pain, it’s likely you’ll be combining a few different methods to ease the pain.
One method of pain relief, is actually (and surprisingly) breathing correctly. Breathing, when it is controlled and considered, can aid your body into lowering pain levels, and can help you focus on getting through the pain too.
When we talk about breathing ‘correctly’ we’re talking about using your diaphragm. This method of breathing tends to allow us to breathe more deeply, and is different to ‘normal’ breathing because it expands out stomach, instead of our ribcage.
This kind of deep breathing is considered healthier, and also allows our bodies to better digest the oxygen in the air. But how does this help with muscle pain and chronic pain?
Reason 1: It helps to relax the muscles.
Breathing deeply helps to relax your muscles. You’ll feel it as you take deep breaths, that your muscles naturally relax.
Reason 2: Distraction strategy
Deep breathing is a fantastic distraction from pain. If you breath deeply whilst counting (for example) you’ll notice your brain focussing more on the numbers and counting than on the pain itself.
Reason 3: Reverses physical symptoms
There are many physical symptoms of pain, and one of the main ones is anxiety. The quickening of breath, clenching of fists (etc) are all things our body does when it senses pain or danger. By breathing deeply, we’re relaxing our body and telling it not to panic. So we’re reversing those physical symptoms of pain and anxiety.
Reason 4: It increases our oxygen supply
We all know that oxygen is what gives us life and energy. Oxygen is perhaps the most important thing we intake and we do it through breathing. The better our breathing techniques are, and the deeper our breaths, the more oxygen we’re taking in. The more oxygen our body has, the better it can function.