Breathing Techniques for Pain Management

Posted by Sue, Volunteer Mentor @sueinmn, Dec 1, 2021

Sometimes I find deep breathing techniques can help me when I have pain. The article on Healthline today was a great reminder as I am struggling with muscle spasms brought on by overdoing the past few days. Read here about Box Breathing, (aka pattern breathing) – https://www.healthline.com/health/box-breathing

It, or the breathing pattern known as Belly Breathing (aka diaphragmatic breathing) also helps calm me down when stressed, or get me back on track when I get shortness of breath.

What breathing techniques have you found helpful when managing pain?
Sue

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Chronic Pain group.

Biofeedback, yea just relax and whatever you do don't move or else the pain will come screaming back. Not to be a negative. Just that's my experience

REPLY
@betterway

Biofeedback, yea just relax and whatever you do don't move or else the pain will come screaming back. Not to be a negative. Just that's my experience

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I experienced biofeedback at Mayo Clinic's Pain Rehab Center. I learned a lot about what I'd been doing wrong.

Being hooked up to biofeedback monitors allowed me to watch and witness how tense my shoulders were and how much chest breathing was used instead of belly breathing.

Pain causes stress and stress causes tension and tension causes more pain and around and around we go. It took me 5 sessions to get to a point of being able to recognize how low my shoulders needed to be dropped in order to be fully relaxed, and just how much I needed to slowwwly breath in through my nose while inflating my belly then out through my nose letting my belly deflate. I had never calmed my body like this before and it felt unnatural at first.

I had homework to do which was to lay on my back with my cell phone on my belly then practice breathing through my belly to raise and lower the phone. It helped me get the feel down. Other relaxation tricks were to study serene landscape. Also, I found that slouching into my seat a little more allowed me to loosen my body instead of the normal erect posture I was always trying to uphold.

Like @sueinmn mentions, diaphragmatic breathing is a useful tool to calm the central nervous system and help reduce/control pain. Scheduling breathing breaks throughout the day, to build a routine and allow diaphragmatic breathing to become natural, is a great way to get started.

Breathing techniques can be used anytime and anywhere, which is the beauty of this pain management
tool.

How long have you tried using breathing techniques?

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