A few months ago we introduced a tool to help strengthen the diaphragm. A strong diaphragm, primarily a breathing muscle, improves exercise performance. A recent study in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy now contends that a weak diaphragm is correlated with chronic lower back pain. In addition to weakness, there is reduced movement of the diaphragm in subjects with lower back pain.
With the diaphragm, as with any muscle in the body, if you don’t use it, you lose it. Tightness and/or weakness in any muscle leads to poor efficiency and a cascade of compensations throughout the body. Imbalances that are extreme enough eventually cause pain.
What does that have to do with the diaphragm? Well, in addition to respiration, the diaphragm is a trunk stabilizer. And those suffering from chronic low back pain often have instability in the lower spine. Part of the instability comes from weakness of the diaphragm.
Strengthening the diaphragm gives you two for one. Not only will you perform your sport better, but strengthening your diaphragm may also help stabilize your lower back and chase that pain away.