A breathing pattern disorder is a chronic pattern of over-breathing in which the depth and rate of breath exceed the metabolic needs of the body at that time. It occurs in the absence of disease and can cause seemingly unrelated symptoms. The prevalence of serious breathing pattern disorders is as high a 6-10% in the general population however, far more people are likely to have a more subtle, yet clinically significant, breathing pattern disorder.
Typical symptoms of a breathing disorder are;
· Frequent sighing and yawning
· Breathing discomfort*
· Disturbed sleep
· Erratic heartbeats*
· Feeling anxious and uptight
· Pins and needles feeling in the limbs
· Upset stomach/nausea
· Clammy hands
· Twitches or tremors*
· Chest Pains*
· Shattered confidence
· Tired all the time
· Achy muscles and joints
· Dizzy spells* or feeling spaced out
· Irritability or hypervigilance
· Feelings of 'air hunger'
* If you have these symptoms - it is advised that you seek urgent medical care.
Physiotherapy can help assess, diagnose and treat breathing pattern disorders. Management consists of removal of causative factors and rehabilitation of the habitual acquired dysfunctional breathing pattern.Manual therapy and postural strengthening exercises may be required to improve thoracic mobility and muscle tone and length to allow the diaphragm to work optimally. Relaxation methods, mindfulness or meditation are used to reduce the associated stress and anxiety along with sleep and diet advice. For more read this blog post by Helen Dudley.
If you're unsure if physiotherapy can help you, book a complimentary phone consultation with Helen to find out more information.