Breathing Difficulties – There is so many reasons why you may be experiencing breathing difficulties. Thankfully, there is also a lot of ways to pin point the reason why & exactly what you need to do to fix the issue. If not completely rid the problem, the strategies & ways of improving your ability to breathe freely will improve your overall health, comfort & energy levels. Firstly, I will explain why you may be experiencing or living with breathing difficulties. Secondly, I will explain the physiology to justify why. Lastly, I will explain what you can do to address and reduce or fix the issues all together whilst improving the quality of your life in the process. Bottom line, regardless to the ways you can improve your ability to breathe freely and the reasons why you may not be able to; the actual act of breathing is noticeably harder at times is due to low blood oxygen levels. Your lungs are assisted in the act of intaking oxygen by the expansion of your rib cage through a large variety of muscles. For example; your rib cage expands and compresses with every breathe through the activation of the muscles between each rib called intercostals. These tiny muscles are what help you cough, sneeze & breathe naturally. As well as your intercostals, there is a number of larger muscles that assist with breathing. Primarily your serratus anterior, latissimuss dorsi, quadratus lumburum and scalenes. All secretive and subtle yet if properly exercised make a world of difference. In the average population, unless you live a sedentary lifestyle with a lack of physical activity you shouldn’t be too affected for general breathing. But when it comes to people living with paralysis, or people with severely atrophied muscle groups – every bit of muscular innovation matters.
Reasons You May Be Experiencing Breathing Difficulties:
Overall fitness – Overall fitness is your baseline. How capable your body is of dealing with physical exertion with standard to elite physical activity. How much physical stress your muscles can tolerate. How affective your lungs are of exchanging the oxygen you breathe in to go into your blood stream whilst removing the Carbon Dioxide from your blood for you to exhale, or breathe out. As well as how affective your heart & arterial system is at pumping the oxygenated blood you breathe in around your body to deliver key nutrients & oxygen to the cells in your muscles & organs. Whilst removing carbon dioxide & other waste materials to be excreted through your lungs in the process. Every aspect of physical fitness is affected by Energy & Fatigue levels
Overall Muscle strength, muscle activation and muscle composition. Your body is a complex network of numerous bones, ligaments, muscles, tendons, nerves and physiological mechanisms required for you to do the general activities you do everyday. If not properly maintained, realigned, exercised & strengthened and fed the correct nutrients your body will breakdown and physiological problems will occur. Every single time you move a limb, a bio mechanical demand is sent to and from different parts of your body. This requires resources and fuel to be done correctly and efficiently. Any physical activity puts a great deal of stress on your body and this has adverse affects on both your mental and physical self. Whether it’s physical pain, physical fatigue/exhaustion, breathing difficulties or psychological pain or psychological fatigue/exhaustion. A lot of the time you probably don’t even realise how much stress you are asking of your body to tolerate and you merely only feel the side affects of your bodies biological mechanisms screaming for help. In Short, everything that gets used in your daily life needs to be repaired – without proper attention and correct fundamental resources your body Isn’t capable of doing so. When you have not ingested what your body needs, your body will tell you. And breathing difficulties are sometimes simply a lack of oxygen. By correctly aligning your body with properly maintained muscle groups that assist with the expansion and compression of your rib cage – you know you’re providing your body with the assets or tools to properly intake the necessary fuel or resources to give yourself the best chances of thriving in a pain & stress free state. You can read which muscles & exercises to assist with breathing & overcome breathing difficulties. These are increasingly important with people living with severe atrophy of certain muscle groups or some degree of paralysis.
Hydration and energy needs. Remember breathing difficulties are often a side affect of low blood oxygen levels. Whilst breathing in oxygenated air is our main source of oxygen intake. A lot of the oxygen we get comes from our fluid intake as well as the primary benefit of staying properly hydrated is maintaining homeostasis and maintaining a permeable blood consistency with healthy PH levels. This allows our blood to be pumped around the body easily and efficiently to effectively deliver key transmitters, nutrients and oxygen to our muscles and organs. So both physical fitness, body composition and maintaining proper nutrient and liquid intake is vital to the health of our bodies. Your body regulates PH levels through excretion of toxic chemicals through respiration, urine or sweat as waste from the ingestion of necessary fuels. (Foods, Drinks & Air). If you are not properly hydrated, you may feel you’re panting and your breathing becomes more difficult. Breathing difficulties from dehydration and unbalanced PH levels is far more prominent in people living with paralysis or anybody with the inability to sweat properly or inability to sweat at all.
Paralysis of respiratory protagonist. In short, paralysis of the muscles that assist with breathing via compression and expansion of your rib cage. Similarly with example 2. Weak muscle activation or unideal body composition causing a lack of protagonists, or deformed rib cage acting as a dominant antagonists preventing easy synergistic expansion and compression of the rib cage with healthily active protagonist muscle groups. As stated in example 2,:your rib cage (or costal cage) is working in synergy with every breath you take. The primary muscle group responsible for breathing, coughing and sneezing are called intercostals: a small group of muscles that line the interior and exterior of your rib cage and each intercostal lys in between each rib. The nerve activation for the intercostal is directly innovated by the host vertebrae’s nerve root. With having 12 ribs, connected by the costal facet on each of the 12 thoracic vertebrae in your thoracic spine (T1 through T12). You can understand that each intercostal is autonomously innovated by each vertebral nerve root. In saying this, you should also understand how your primary breathing mechanism is affected by spinal cord injury or paralysis of some degree. This exactly why quadriplegics and high level paraplegics have much more difficulty breathing as well as more difficulty regulating consistent blood pressure levels. As well as the lack of bodily muscle activation impeding on blood circulation and blood pressure regulation. You should now also understand the adverse affects on normal blood pressure levels due to impaired activation of respiratory protagonist.