Here in North Texas, it seems most of our patients struggle with allergies and difficulty breathing—if you don’t, consider yourself among the lucky ones. But it isn't just allergies that affect our breathing.
We live in one of the fastest developing metros in the U.S. and that means constant construction, traffic, pollution, and particulate matter, all swirled up in the air thanks to Texas’ notorious wind patterns. All this junk in the air acts like toxins and irritants to create inflammation and reduce the transfer of oxygen to lungs. Over time, accumulation of toxins in the lungs causes destruction of the tissue and leads to poor oxygen intake.
And then guess what compounds all this? Sitting! Yep, we talk a lot here about how sitting down all the time negatively impacts our health, and this posture is also making it harder for us to breathe. Sitting really is the new smoking! When we sit with our heads forward on our devices or at our computers, this creates significant restriction in our upper and mid back. This is especially important because these are the vertebral segments that house the nerves that innervate the chest, lungs, and bronchial tubes which help us breathe. When our mid- and upper backs are continually stretched, it puts tension on the nerves, decreases communication to the organ systems that modulate breathing, and creates compression on the diaphragm and lungs, keeping the lungs from completely filling with air.
Our body, “the great compensator,” will then access muscles in the neck with the hope of raising the ribs up enough to allow in more air. This is precisely why so many of us have become shallow neck breathers. Yes, it’s a thing, and unfortunately one of the side effects is anxiety due to a resulting lack of oxygen to the brain.
Regular chiropractic adjustments will help restore structure to the spine and function to the chest, lungs, and bronchi, allowing more oxygen in and thus easier breathing. Reducing our toxic burden should also be a priority in our modern lives, so detoxification is also paramount for better breathing. Sweating it out in an infrared sauna is an excellent way to expels toxins.