Did you know that breathing can help with low back pain?

Did you know that belly breathing can help with low back pain?

When we breathe into our low belly (diaphragmatic breathing) our low back (lumbar spine) and tail bone (sacrum) move as we breathe. On the inhale breath the lumbar spine moves backwards or rounds into flexion and the top of the sacrum moves backward  or counternutates. This allows the facet joints around each vertebrae to open and the top of the sacrum to move creating space between the sacrum and lumbar spine. When we exhale the lumbar spine and sacrum move towards the belly or extension of the lumbar spine and nutation of the sacrum. This closes the facet joints and decreases the space between the lumbar spine and the sacrum.

Simply by breathing into the low belly we are getting normal motion of the lumbar spine and sacrum. This helps keep the joints mobile and the discs in between the vertebrae healthy. The forward and back motion of the sacrum also assists with pumping our cerebral spinal fluid back up towards the head. 

The easiest way to feel this is to lay on your belly and breathe and see if you can feel the lumbar spine and sacrum move as you inhale and exhale. If it is uncomfortable to be on your belly you can do the same in a seated position. You can put a hand on your low back to feel the motion. 

 As a side note diaphragmatic breathing will also bring you into your parasympathetic nervous system ( the rest and digest phase). When this part of your nervous system is dominant it can help reduce anxiety and if you do this right before bed it can help you get a better nights sleep! 

Try it and let me know how it goes at your next visit!


Dr. Tablak

Juliet Tablak