Deep Breathing for Back Pain & Stress Relief

Deep Breathing for Back Pain and Stress Relief

Have you ever taken note of your breathing when you’re relaxed?

The next time you feel completely relaxed, take a moment to listen to your body and how it feels. You can also think about how you’re breathing when you first wake up to start the day or when you’re lying down to go to sleep in the evening.

Breathing exercises can be effective at making you feel relaxed because they imitate how you breathe when you’re already relaxed.


Deep Breathing for Back Pain & Stress Relief

Deep breathing is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress in the body.

This is because when you breathe in deeply, you send a message to your brain to calm down and relax completely. The mind then turns around and sends this message back to your body.

Things that often happen when you are stressed, like increased blood pressure, fast breathing and an increase in heart rate all start to subside as you take deep breaths to relax.

The way that you breathe affects your entire body. This means that breathing exercises are an excellent way to relieve stress, reduce tension and relax.

Surprisingly, breathing exercises are easy to pick up and learn. You can do them throughout the day whenever you feel like it because you don’t need any equipment or special tools to help you.

You can try out different breathing exercises to determine which ones will work best for you.


How Do You Do Breathing Exercises?

There are many different ways you can do breathing exercises to relax properly. While some are more advanced than others, we’re going to cover a few different types so you can either ease into them or jump right into the deep end.


Belly Breathing

Belly breathing is an easy breathing exercise – it’s one the beginner level, which means it’s great if you don’t have too much experience doing breathing exercises.

Let’s take a look at how to do it:

  1. Lie or sit in a position that’s comfortable.
  2. Place one hand on your stomach, just below your lungs, and the other over your chest.
  3. Draw a deep breath in through your nose, letting your belly push your hand out at the same time. You should keep your chest still the entire time.
  4. Breath out through tightened lips as though you are trying to whistle. Feel the hand resting on your stomach go inwards, and use it to push the rest of the air out.
  5. Do this breathing cycle three to ten times. Be slow with each breath and take your time.
  6. Take note of how you’re feeling at the end of this exercise.

Now that you’ve mastered the art of belly breathing let’s take a look at three breathing exercises that are a bit more advanced.


4-7-8 Breathing

This breathing exercise incorporates belly breathing to be more effective. You can do this either lying down or sitting up.

  1. Begin as you would in the belly breathing exercise, with one hand placed on your belly and the other on your chest.
  2. Take a deep breath from your stomach, but this time count to four as you inhale.
  3. Hold your breath, and as you do count to seven.
  4. Breath out with pursed lips as you count to eight this time. Try to have all the air out of your lungs by the time you’ve reached eight.
  5. Repeat this breathing exercise at least three to seven times until you feel more relaxed.
  6. Take note of how you’re feeling at the end of it.
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Roll Breathing

Roll breathing is one of the best breathing exercises if you can master it.

This is because it helps you to develop the use of your lungs, while also forcing you to focus on the rhythm of your breathing. While you can do roll breathing in any position, it’s recommended that you learn how to do it lying down until you’re more confident.

Make sure your knees are bent when in a lying down position for this exercise.

  1. Place your left hand on your stomach and your right hand on your chest. Take note of how your hands move as you inhale and exhale.
  2. Practice filling up just your lower lungs by watching your lower hand move with each breath, while your upper hand remains as still as it can. Always remember to inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Repeat this step eight to ten times.
  3. Once you have done this part of the exercise eight to ten times and feel comfortable doing so, add the second step in. Begin by inhaling into your lower lungs as you did before, but instead of stopping the breath, continue to inhale so that your upper lungs get filled as well. Continue to do this by breathing as you usually would. Your right hand will move more, but both hands should move as your stomach rises and falls.
  4. As you breathe out through your mouth, make a gentle, whooshing sound as your left and then right hand fall back down again. As you’re breathing out, try to tune into the tension leaving your body as you become more calm and relaxed.
  5. Practice the second part of the roll breathing exercise for at least three to five minutes. Liken the rising and falling of your hands on your stomach and chest to the motion of waves on the beach.
  6. Take note of how you’re feeling at the end of this exercise.

Roll breathing is a particularly excellent breathing exercise. This is because it really helps to open up and expand the chest area. This can help reduce tension in the neck and shoulders, which can often be tight due to a sedentary lifestyle.

If you’re looking for a useful breathing exercise to do on a daily basis for chronic back pain and stress relief, roll breathing is ideal.


Morning Breathing

Morning breathing is a great breathing exercise to do first thing in the morning when you wake up. It can help relieve tension in your muscles and unclog congested breathing passages.

  1. In a standing position, bend forward with your knees slightly bent from the waist down. Let your arms hang loose close to the floor.
  2. As you inhale, return to a standing position by bringing your body up slowly in a rolling motion, making sure your head is the last thing to lift.
  3. Hold your breath for a few seconds in this position.
  4. Breath out slowly as you return to the bent over position.
  5. Take note of how you feel after this exercise.


References and Further Reading

1. Roll Breathing – HealthLink BC
2. What Is the 4-7-8 Breathing Technique?
3. Diaphragmatic breathing

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