I'm sure you are aware of how annoying a chronic cough can be, especially at the moment worrying that everyone thinks you have covid 19! Once the GP and specialists have excluded anything more sinister, it may become apparent that the cough has no functional value and has in fact become a habit.
The more you cough, the more you cough!
Continuous coughing irritates the airways which then become more sensitive. The airways then may react to mucous, deep breathing, cold air and even some smells. This intensifies the sensation to cough and it is tricky to break the cycle.
So what can you do?
sip, swallow and suppress is the key to managing a chronic cough. Don't let the cough happen.
1. sip on water
2. swallow hard
3. distract yourself, breathe and wait for the feeling to subside
Looking for the best ways to keep yourself healthy this winter?
Close your mouth and breathe through your nose!
The function of the nose is to filter and warm air as well as removing bugs. Your nostrils are lined with tiny hairs called cilia which constantly bring bacteria and viruses back out of your body to stop you getting sick.
Interesting note: breathing through your nose also stimulates the release of nitric oxide from the nasal sinuses, which effectively dilates (or widens) the blood vessels to all the organs and tissues of the body. This allows better oxygen absorption and improved efficiency.
Chronic mouth breathers commonly suffer from anxiety and chronic pain. These symptoms can improve with breathing pattern retraining.
Travelling this winter?
When travelling by plane, the cilia can dry out and cause this protective barrier to fail. Keep your nasal cilia hydrated with saline sprays every 2 hours before and during your flights.
The Diaphragm is an incredible muscle vital for respiration. It attaches to the inside of the sternum and to the lower 5 ribs. It also fuses onto the pericardium helping the heart stay in place. At the lower end, the tendon attaches onto lumber vertebrae 1,2 and 3.
The diaphragm looks a little like a jelly fish when it contracts and relaxes. It should move rhythmically in waves as we breathe in and out. This 3D video helps us understand the way the diaphragm moves within the chest.
The other interesting aspect of the diaphragm is that the aorta, the vena cava and the oesophagus travel directly through it to enter the chest cavity. It is easy to then understand the impact on these structures if the diaphragm is not sufficiently strong.
How can we strengthen the diaphragm?
Inspitatory muscle traing (IMT) can lead to improvements in balance too!
Comparison of balance changes after inspiratory muscle or Otago exercise training.
Ferraro et al, (2020)
IMT improved dynamic balance and can be consider for balance retraining for the older adults in frailty prevention
When you breathe well, every organ in your body benefits. Breathing properly creates the perfect space for your body to rest and repair. If you want your general health and wellbeing to flourish, breathing is an obvious starting point.
Breathing Pattern Disorders
Did you know that your breathing pattern can alter over time due to a wide variety of reasons; respiratory disorders (asthma, COPD, etc), hormonal upsets, poor postures, chest wall injuries, chest surgeries, chronic pain, nasal/sinus problems, high stress levels, anxiety, traumatic events or grief. In many of these cases, the upper lung inflates too much creating a hyperventilation syndrome. In other cases, breath may become too shallow. Commonly, the diaphragm is weak and requires strengthening to promote an improved breathing pattern.
Diaphragmatic breathing is a simple, natural way of dropping your heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure as well as optimising blood flow to the muscles, heart and brain.
Common symptoms of a breathing pattern disorder:
if you think you may be suffering from a breathing pattern disorder, call Nina to make an appointment on 021 372832.