1275919 tn?1279836004

Breathing exercises

When the pain gets really bad I find my body automatically focusing on my breathing. Although I have not been posting I have come here every once in awhile and have learned alot. I have not seen anyone else comment on this and I'm wondering if there are any actual breathing techniques that may help me get this most out of breathing exercises. Usually I just take a deep breath in close my eyes and wait a few seconds and then slowly release the air. Does anyone know of certain ways of breathing that help when in pain?
7 Responses
1324871 tn?1288981706
Hi ! I know that I do focus on deep breathing when my pain is at it's worst .I will put on some relaxing music (I like classical for this) and sit and visualize something very relaxing like laying on the beach and focus on my breathing,taking very deep breaths in and holding them in for a moment and then slowly exhaling .This really does seem to help .It also eases my anxiety .You know this is a very good question .I am surprised to not have seen a post regarding this .I am sure someone will have a better answer for you .This is just what I do when my pain or anxiety get out of control .I am anxious myself to see the answers you get for this as I find it very interesting .Take care  Melissa
1322157 tn?1279656681
Yep! I do deep breathing, too. Remember the breathing they teach you for labor? Sometimes I do it fast, like that (to get through some really sharp pains - and it does help) and sometimes it's slow and calm (when the pain is just "there" and won't go away) - just like both you Melissaky mentioned.

It absolutely helps!!
547368 tn?1440541785
Hello dontunderstand,

Welcome from the shadows of the lurkers! There are many like you and I am glad that you have learned from us. Please "come out" more often.

What a great question. May I add posture and/or muscle status to your breathing query. I think that they go hand in hand.

When I have flares or during treatments at my physicians office I have been instructed on breathing techniques. I tend to hold part of my breath in or breath as if I were in labor. According to my physician both techniques are inaccurate.

My physician has instructed me to do slow deep even breathing. Let every bit of air out and do not pant. Pursing you lips can be helpful in regulating your breathing. Panting can often lead to hyperventilation which as you know decreases the oxygen to our "parts."  If one begins to breath too quickly or hyperventilate I've been instructed to immediately begin breathing out slowly through pursed lips. Think the word relax with every inhalation and as you exhale think of a wave coming over your body.  Visualize the wave beginning at the top of you head and washing downward over you. As this wave moves imagine it touching and relaxing  every muscle. If you visualize this occurring and focus on relaxation and your breathing, again  as you slowly inhale and exhale you focus less on your pain.  

This technique has been very beneficial for me. I use to tense and "brace" for the pain or tense my muscles in a flare. The tense muscles and tension in my body obviously increased my pain especially in a flare.

I don't know if this will be effective for everyone. I think we all tend to change our breathing as well as posture when we are in pain. I am so glad that you brought this up.  I wonder how many of us think about breathing, relaxing and positioning when we are in pain. I wouldn't have if my PCP had not intervened and taught me these valuable techniques.

Feel free to step out of the shadows and join us. And thank you for sharing.

My Best to You,
82861 tn?1333453911
I do pretty much the same thing as Tuck.  You don't want to hold your breath any more than you want to hyperventilate.  When we're in the kind of pain that we can't escape, we tense up for battle and our breathing changes.  It's the old "fight or flight" response.  We hurt, we get scared, we want to do something about it but there's nowhere to run and nothing to kill.  All that extra adrenaline makes us anxious, tense and breathe faster or hold it longer than normal.  All of that results in less oxygen to the brain and the anxiety and panic only gets worse.  The more tense and anxious we get the worse our pain is.

I always have to lay down in a quiet room for breathing and relaxation to be really effective.  Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth: in for two counts and out for two counts.  Say the words "in" and "out" to yourself as you do this.  When other thoughts whirl in your brain, think "go away" and go right back to saying "in" and "out".  

Once I get my breathing under control, I move on to checking my muscle status.  Still doing the in-out bit, pay attention to your head and facial muscles.  Tense and relax them on purpose a few times and move on down the rest of your body one small region at a time.  You'll probably have to do that routine top to bottom several times.  I hold a lot of tension in my scalp muscles and by the time I hit my legs my face is already scrinched up again.  Give it time and keep working with it.

After all that, I then visualize pain as a ball of fire and mentally try to pin down where in my body it is at its worst.  It can be surprising how small of an area the pain is reduced to when you seriously concentrate on it.  Still thinking "in" and "out", I then visualize moving that fireball ball of pain away from my body in the palm of my hand.  After that it's a matter of holding it there.  "Can't hurt me now - nanny nanny boo boo!"  If I'm lucky, I'll be asleep in 30 minutes to an hour.  If not, the pain is usually at least bearable by then.

This is an odd meditation that I kind of fell into years ago when I didn't even realize it WAS a form of meditation.  By focusing on it, hunting it down and controlling my reaction to it instead of trying to escape it, I've learned it doesn't have to rule my every waking moment.  It's better than rolling around on the bed like a worm on a hook for hours.  LOL!

Meditation and relaxation are techniques that must be practiced.  Techniques that work for me may not work for anyone else, but it's a place to start.  Some people prefer some kind of music or relaxing background noise.  For me it's just one more distraction I have to overcome to get in the "zone."  There's no right or wrong way to relax, but it all starts with paying attention to your breathing and controlling it.  Get that part down and it's easy enough to move on to the rest.  :-)
1187071 tn?1279369698
I do sometimes do some breathing but I have a bad habit of hyperventilating so I try not to. When my pain is at his worse i try not to think about it which is hard but I try my best to think about my kids or husband or my dogs just to get it off my mind. it don't help much but it does help alittle.
When i was in the er in so much pain they told me to breath the best I could but I kept hyperventilating and that made the pain in my body so much worse cause when you do that your not getting enough air in your body everything gets very tight.
If it works for you I say go for it, anything that will help is a big plus.
1275919 tn?1279836004
Thank you guys so much! I have taken notes and plan to try these out in the near future (hopefully not too near :)
have a great night!
1322157 tn?1279656681
My doctor told me to try to the labor breathing through the sharp pains (just like being in labor and a contraction) - And if done correctly, one should not hyperventilate... otherwise pregnant women in active labor would be passing out all over the place...LOL

I get sharp electric shock pains that feel like someone just took an ax to the nerves in my spine. These pains only last for a moment - but long enough to have to grab something or someone and breath through it...  

I think it's different if you are having a procedure in the doctors office - like a nerve block.. they don't want you to be tense and hee hee hoo hooing while they try to inject you - so I can see why a doctor might tell someone to try and relax through something like that. And of course, holding your breath is not good - but then again, that's not even breathing!! lol

But the slow breathing and relaxation techniques are perfect for pain that is not acute - as everyone else suggested. I do this when I am in general pain and trying to rest...

Bottom line - there is no right or wrong breathing technique (unless you do hyperventilate..lol) - try different ones for different pains and see what works best!

it was a great question!!

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