When it’s difficult to breathe, it’s normal to get anxious. However, this can make you even more short of breath.
There are two breathing techniques that help you get the air you need without working so hard to breathe. These techniques are called pursed lip breathing and diaphragmatic breathing.
Before starting any breathing technique, make sure to relax. Take a minute to drop your shoulders and close your eyes.
You need to avoid the harmful cycle of breathlessness:
You feel breathless > You avoid activities that make you feel breathless > You do less > Your muscles weaken > You get more breathless > You feel depressed
Pursed lip breathing (PLB) benefits:
PLB can be particularly useful for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is a very common lungdisease. The increased pressure created by exhaling through pursed lips will help prevent the large airways from collapsing.This may also help open up airways to release more air.
The diaphragm is the main muscle used for breathing and is designed to do most of the work. When you have COPD or otherlung diseases, the diaphragm doesn’t work well and your neck muscles, shoulders and back are used. These “accessory”muscles are not as effective in moving air in and out. Training the diaphragm to do the majority of the work again can help you feel much better.
Diaphragmatic breathing is more difficult to perform compared to PLB. Make sure to get instructions on the technique from a qualified healthcare provider.
This technique is best used when you feel rested and relaxed. Try lying on your back or sitting in a relaxed position.
Diaphragmatic breathing instructions:
Physiologic benefits of breathing deeply:
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This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, part of Mubadala Healthcare, and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.
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