A rugby player came to see me after he started to experience a sudden shortness of breath whilst playing. He is in good shape and it didn't seem to be a fitness issue, so we decided to assess the diaphragm.
The diaphragm was very high tone and tight, and during his breathing cycle it was not dropping inferiorly into the abdomen. It needs to do this to create space for the lungs to expand. As the diaphragm could not drop, instead he was raising his shoulders aggressively to try and create room to draw breath. This prevented him from optimally filling his lungs whilst playing.
As the diaphragm is a part of the Intrinsic Core stability system, we looked for other parts of this internal cylinder which might also be dysfunctional. The other components of the Intrinsic Core are the Transverse Abdominus, the Multifidus and Pelvic Floor.
I asked if he had experienced any change in his Pelvic Floor recently, such as an increase in his need to urinate. It turned that he had an increase in trips to the bathroom, which suggested that his anterior Pelvic Floor had become inhibited.
By using Neurokinetic Therapy Protocol, we released the diaphragm and activated the Pelvic Floor muscles. By bringing normality back to the Intrinsic Core he could immediately take a full, deep breath and he contacted me later that evening to say that he had got through an entire training session with ease.
If you experience sudden change to your Breathing or your Pelvic Floor muscles, consider that the other may be part of the problem.
Don't suffer in silence, get it addressed.
Image courtesy of Essential Anatomy 5.