The diaphragm is the primary muscle used for breathing. It's a dome-shaped muscle located in the mid-section of your body that separates your lungs from the rest of the internal organs. It’s fitted in the lower section of the ribcage and attached to the first three lumbar vertebrae. For this simple reason, a tight diaphragm is sometimes the hidden cause of lower back pain.
Not many people are aware of the relevance of proper breathing for core and pelvic floor function.
HOW THE DIAPHRAGM WORKS
If we imagine our body as a cylinder formed by muscles, the center would be the core muscles, at the top would be the diaphragm and at the bottom the pelvic floor. On the inside of the cylinder would be located our internal organs.
When breathing in, our lungs expand and the diaphragm contracts, lowering and pushing down the internal organs and consequently, the pelvic floor. As we breathe out, lungs start to empty, the diaphragm relaxes and raise and so do the internal organs and the pelvic floor.
This movement of the diaphragm also produces a gentle massage to the internal organs helping their correct function and blood circulation.
THE CORE FUNCTION IN BREATHING
The transversus abdominis is a wide belt that wraps around the waist (forming the “body” of the cylinder), acting as a corset.
It provides stability and assists in the breathing patterns, contracting to facilitate exhalation. When this muscle gets weak due to poor posture and lack of exercise, this function gets restricted, causing commonly back pain or other dysfunction.
HOW THE PELVIC FLOOR GETS AFFECTED
- Chronic stress, repetitive habits, and bad ergonomics, cause the diaphragm to be misused and tight. This can lead to two main dysfunctions.
- On one side, the diaphragm is in a lower position, putting more pressure on the internal organs and the pelvic floor and exacerbating, even more, the slouched posture.
On the other side, there’s a lack of mobility, means that the breathing will be limited, and the accessory breathing muscles mainly located around the neck will have to work harder to allow breathing.
In short, bad posture and incorrect breathing will cause an adverse effect on your pelvic floor.
By changing the breathing patterns, you will not only improve your overall physical health but also promote calm and relaxation.
Hypopressive techniques - Low Pressure Fitness improves diaphragmatic breathing and the coordinated movement of the core and pelvic floor. Besides, the poses included in the program are designed to increase postural muscles tone as we reduce myofascial tension in the most common areas.
Correct posture is vital to allow your core, diaphragm and pelvic floor work in proper synergy.