Neck Hump? Shoulders ache? Upper/Lower Back pain?

Train this Muscle FIRST.

 

This is post 2 of 2 on How to FIX a Neck Hump, also called a Dowager’s Hump or Buffalo Hump.

Link to 🔗 Post 1: 4 SIMPLE Focused Actions. 1 Tip & the Ab exercise to AVOID when you want to Fix a Hump.

To FIX our Neck Hump We Begin with Training the Diaphragm Muscle FIRST.

 

A neck hump, chronic shoulder, upper/lower back aches, pains, incontinence, ED are all signs that the diaphragm muscle needs strengthening.

The diaphragm is well known as a respiratory muscle but is also the NUMBER 1 Spine Stabilizer!

Over time, as the diaphragm weakens, it stresses other parts of the spine, destabilizing it and causing aches, pains, and skeletal muscle adaptations like a Neck Hump.

How Can a Neck Hump Be Related to a Weak Diaphragm?

As our diaphragm gets weaker our breathing becomes shallower.

Shallower breathing promotes multiple physiological cascades in our body, like anxiety, lower mood, increased stress hormones, poor posture, and weak pelvic floor muscles to name just a few.

We have less oxygen, we feel more tired, smaller and smaller inconveniences feel like major stressors.

Our body senses an increased stress level, muscles begin to chronically contract and then stay contracted longer and longer.

Over time chronically tight muscles create postural adaptations and inflammation that lead to a change of posture.

The altered posture creates chronic aches, pains, and our neck hump.

Neck Hump. Aches Pains due to a Weak Diaphragm

The only way postural exercises will bring long lasting results so we can unwind our neck hump is to start with strengthening our diaphragm muscle FIRST.

Todays Simple Self Care Tip

Looking at the Diaphragm Muscle

Above is the amazing diaphragm muscle and its location.

It is concluded that the diaphragm consists of two muscles that act differently on the rib cage” (1)(italics added)

 

The Diaphragm:

  • Sits under your lungs.
Diaphragm Muscle placement and Action
  • Attaches to the front of your ribcage
  • As well as the sides of your two bottom ribs
  • The illustration below shows that it also attaches to three of your lower spine vertebrae via a central tendon.

Seeing how the diaphragm is positioned helps makes it easier to envision how aches and pains, can arise in our low back region when it is weak.

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Training the Diaphragm Muscle Resolves Aches and Pains All Up and Down the Spine.

Many people experience aches and pains in the neck and lumbar areas of the spine.

The research concludes that training the diaphragm muscle results in the relief of most spine discomforts. (2)(3)(4) AND SO MUCH MORE like fixing a neck hump!

 

The functions of the diaphragm do not stop locally in its anatomy but affect the whole body system.”(5)(italics and underline added)

The Diaphragm Muscle isn’t just for Breathing it Impacts Our Posture Too!

We are mostly aware of the diaphragm’s job as a prime respiratory system regulator.

A respiratory muscle that we do not need to think about as it continually, involuntarily contracts enabling us to breathe in a stable, rhythmic way.

The rhythm keys off our nervous system.

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Our nervous system influences our diaphragm and vice versa.

When we strengthen our diaphragm we calm our nervous system.

When our nervous system is calm we improve how multiple body systems function.

A strong diaphragm (or weak one) influences the nerve that runs from our brain all the way down our spine.

A strong diaphragm has a calming effect on this nerve. This calming effect is beneficial to all the organs and systems of our body. Including our muscle skeletal system.

Vagus Nerve and HPA Axis to illustrate how scent can influence the self care of the entire body

A few everyday instances of the bodily functions that improve when the diaphragm is strengthened include but are not limited to:

  • improved posture (unwinding of a neck hump)
  • decreased joint pain
  • eliminating tingling and numbness in shoulders, arms, hands from compression
  • frequency and urge to urinate diminish
  • bowel movements improve
  • lymphatic movement is more effective
  • ED
  • ability to lift heavy objects safely
  • asthma, COPD improve
  • mood improves
  • anxiety decreases
  • sleep is sounder
  • focus is easier
  • endurance increases
  • lower blood pressure
  • heart rate optimized
  • stronger lungs
  • delivering a baby is muscularly easier…

The improvements are a result of your Nervous System’s benefit from deeper respiration (4-7-8 technique).

 
the diaphragm muscle loop

“To have a strong diaphragm you must breathe deeply.

To breathe deeply you must have a strong diaphragm.”

A stronger diaphragm is the result of deeper respiration achieved by the 4-7-8-breathing technique.

In turn the Nervous System balances.

Results surprise subscribers using the:

Beginning with the 4-7-8 technique to strengthen your diaphragm sets you up to reap amazing results from today’s new diaphragm training.

 

Today’s breathing technique builds on 4-7-8 and will also strengthen your diaphragm on its own.

Using today’s breathing technique takes strengthening your diaphragm to the next level.

I will illustrate the desired technique for you to try and then there is a 2 1/2 minute routine for you to give the technique a go!

You can use the 2 1/2 minute routine daily to train your diaphragm muscle.

It is done in a chair.

The breathing uses the E for E diaphragm training breathing technique that strengthens the diaphragm with EACH breath.

Plus the routine layers on the Focus 2 and 3 muscles– we covered in Post 1 that fix your neck hump.

 

Here’s how we want to use the diaphragm so it strengthens.

I’ve created a picture of how we typically use the diaphragm when we Exhale during exercise or when we lift objects.

Then a second illustration depicting how we want to use our diaphragm to strengthen it.

Typically we do what is pictured in this photo.

When we exert effort and exhale deeply, we tend to pitch our upper body slightly forward.

Avoid this type of Exhale

TYPICAL

 

We contract most of our upper and middle stomach muscles pushing the air out.

The sound of the air coming out is more of a blowing.

The arrows show that when we exhale this way, we create a downward pressure inside the abdomen.

This downward pressure pushes on the pelvic floor muscles.

The more the pelvic floor muscles are pressed downward the more the abdominal cavity loses spine stability.

Both a weak diaphragm and weak pelvic floor muscles contribute to a posture that promotes a neck hump.

Below is how we want to EXHALE while exercising or exerting effort to Train our Diaphragm Muscle.

Optimally we would like to exhale as depicted below.

Exhale Desired for Spine Stability

Exhale instructions:

Maintain an upright upper body posture.

Whether standing, sitting, or lying down, we want to use the lower third of our abdomen to PRESS the air in our abdominal cavity up and out through our open mouth.

 

The lower third of your AB muscles is the section from below your belly button down to your pelvic bone.

 

When you use the lower third of your abdominal muscles to exhale completely, your pelvic floor muscles will rise because they are meant to work together with your diaphragm.

 

The stronger the diaphragm the more completely your lungs will empty. This is good for you in many ways. I’ll create a post on that later.

The sound of the air coming out of your open mouth is a huhhhhing sound.

When we exhale using the lower third of our abs:

  • during exercise
  • lifting something heavy
  • even getting up and down from a chair

we are strengthening the diaphragm and the pelvic floor.

The strengthened diaphragm and pelvic floor provide spinal support.

A stable spine promotes good posture.

Good posture opens up the possibility to correct a neck hump.

Let’s Find The Lower Third of Your ABS

The technique I’ve found the most useful in helping clients find the lower third of their abdomen is to imagine you’re trying to blow up a balloon.

 

If you were blowing up a balloon you probably can imagine you’d press the lower 1/3 of your abs to make the balloon go up.

We typically use our lower abs when blowing a balloon because we really won’t get far if we are just blowing some air from our lungs.

As you blow up a balloon you typically inhale through your nose so you do not lose the air already in the balloon.

Then as we attempt to get more air into the balloon we push from our lower belly.

That is the region of the muscle to use with each exhale. It is the lower 1/3 of your ABS.

This technique will train your diaphragm.

  • Inhale through the nose.
  • Mouth relaxed and slightly open so the air can come out.
  • Press the Lower 1/3 of your ABs slowly and completely so the air in your abdominal cavity presses up and out of your open mouth.

That’s it! Simple but often not easy until you practice. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

If you haven’t blown up a balloon, think about how you would blow out a candle far away or blow a bubble using a bubble wand that is positioned farther away from you.

Each of these can help find the lower third of your ab.

Once you’ve found your lower ab muscle, practice it a few times right before beginning any exercise.

Over time this spine stabilizing exhale action will become second nature

In the meantime there are ample times throughout our day where we can strengthen our diaphragm taking advantage of this exhale technique:

  • when you pick up a child
  • carry a laundry basket
  • lifting groceries in and out of the cart or car
  • getting in and out of the car yourself
  • vacuuming
  • moving from a seated to standing position
  • exercises
  • standing up from a squatted position
  • any time you lift something

Each time by simply using the lower third of your abs to press the air up and out you will be strengthening your diaphragm.

The stronger your diaphragm the better your posture.

The better your posture the easier it is to use Focus 2 and 3 to Fix your Neck HUMP!

“..studies concluded the effects of deep abdominal muscle strengthening exercises on respiratory function and lumbar stability. The finding is that core stabilization starts with the proper function and activation of the diaphragm.

“The diaphragm…plays a role in respiration and trunk stability by controlling intra-abdominal pressure and reducing the stress on the spine through cooperative action with the abdomen and the pelvic floor muscles.”

Todays Simple Self Care Tip

 

Our Focused Action:

RE-CAP: The 1-2-3 of Training Your Diaphragm

1. The 4-7-8 Technique

Link 🔗 4-7-8 Videos Sound Sleep Calm Days

A stronger diaphragm is the result of deeper respiration achieved by the 4-7-8-breathing technique. If you are just starting out this is a GREAT place to start.

Even though it feels so SIMPLE the results of 90-days of falling asleep using the 4-7-8 technique and the 1 min, 3 min CALM during the day videos, do a good job training your diaphragm. Subscribers write sharing their pleasant surprise when they experience results like:

  • better sleep
  • improved mood
  • headaches fade
  • neck tension goes away
  • a sense of calm even though their life is just as hectic
  • continence improves
  • reduction of aches and pains
  • blood pressure lowers

For more details you can read some of the results a few subscribers have shared.

 

2. The 2.5 Minute Chair Routine

Link 🔗 Posture Chair Routines

The 2.5 minute routine trains your diaphragm muscle and simultaneously uses the Spine’s Deep Muscles (Focus 2 and 3 muscles instructional video in Post 1).

 

The 2.5 minute diaphragm training and deep spinal muscle exercises will improve your neck hump.

It’ll:

  • Improve the spacing between the vertebrae so your nerves are not being pinched.
  • Recalibrate your vagal tone (balancing your HPA Axis)
  • Then your balanced HPA Axis will help balance your hormones.
  • Balanced Hormones improve sleep, cravings, mood, anxiety….
  • Better sleep, mood, less cravings… increases energy and interest to exercise.
  • Motivation increases to layer on longer versions becomes exciting. There is a 5 minute, 15 minute and 20 minute version.
  • Then when you are ready to take on more challenging exercises. The 90 days 5 Simple Exercises is at the ready for you.

 

3. 90 ☀️Days 🖐🏼5 Simple Exercises

Link 🔗 90 Days 5 Simple Exercises

This series will:

  • tone your superficial muscles. (the ones everyone typically focuses on first like abs, butt, thighs,…)
  • Your body will transform. Your neck hump fades. It is the 4th Focus of Fixing Your Neck Hump

Fixing your Neck Hump starts with laying down the foundation of strengthening your diaphragm muscle FIRST.

READY! Give the 21/2 Min Routine a Try

I’ve gone into detail, describing the extra benefits training your diaphragm muscle FIRST can provide you when you want to FIX your Neck Hump!

Now try it out: Give the 2.5 minute routine a go.

See how it feels.

Then try out one of the 4-7-8 day videos.

Tonight fall asleep to any of the HPA Axis Sleep videos.

I’m excited to hear from you as you experience the results strengthening your diaphragm provides!

 
Sign off. Have a Super Day!
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2.5 Minute Routine For You

Todays Simple Self Care Tip

When we know how to leverage the way our body is set up to work we can work with our bodies gaining results in the least amount of time.

Choosing the most effective, efficient exercises means we can fit self care into our busy lifestyles.

As always you can email me here: simplifyselfcare@gmail.com

Have results you’d like to share! HERE

References/Resources for you

1 Pickering M, Jones JF. The diaphragm: two physiological muscles in one. J Anat. 2002 Oct;201(4):305-12. doi: 10.1046/j.1469-7580.2002.00095.x. PMID: 12430954; PMCID: PMC1570921.

2 Finta R, Nagy E, Bender T. The effect of diaphragm training on lumbar stabilizer muscles: a new concept for improving segmental stability in the case of low back pain. J Pain Res. 2018 Nov 28;11:3031-3045. doi: 10.2147/JPR.S181610. PMID: 30568484; PMCID: PMC6276912.

3. Cuda, G. (2010, December 6). Just breathe: Body has a built-in stress reliever. NPR. Retrieved September 23, 2022, from https://www.npr.org/2010/12/06/131734718/just-breathe-body-has-a-built-in-stress-reliever

4 Finta R, Nagy E, Bender T. The effect of diaphragm training on lumbar stabilizer muscles: a new concept for improving segmental stability in the case of low back pain. J Pain Res. 2018 Nov 28;11:3031-3045. doi: 10.2147/JPR.S181610. PMID: 30568484; PMCID: PMC6276912.

5 Bordoni B, Purgol S, Bizzarri A, Modica M, Morabito B. The Influence of Breathing on the Central Nervous System. Cureus. 2018 Jun 1;10(6):e2724. doi: 10.7759/cureus.2724. PMID: 30083485; PMCID: PMC6070065.

Additional linked resources for you for a deeper look into Neck Humps:

Roghani, Tayebeh et al. “Age-related hyperkyphosis: update of its potential causes and clinical impacts-narrative review.” Aging clinical and experimental research vol. 29,4 (2017): 567-577. doi:10.1007/s40520-016-0617-3

Cleveland Clinic, “Kyphosis: Symptoms, Types, Treatments.” Kyphosis. November 6, 2020. https://my.clevelandclinic.org.

Katzman, Wendy B et al. “Age-related hyperkyphosis: its causes, consequences, and management.” The Journal of orthopaedic and sports physical therapy vol. 40,6 (2010): 352-60. doi:10.2519/jospt.2010.3099

Katzman, W B et al. “Targeted spine strengthening exercise and posture training program to reduce hyperkyphosis in older adults: results from the study of hyperkyphosis, exercise, and function (SHEAF) randomized controlled trial.” Osteoporosis international : a journal established as result of cooperation between the European Foundation for Osteoporosis and the National Osteoporosis Foundation of the USA vol. 28,10 (2017): 2831-2841. doi:10.1007/s00198-017-4109-x

Katzman WB, Parimi N, Gladin A, Wong S, Lane NE. Long-Term Efficacy of Treatment Effects After a Kyphosis Exercise and Posture Training Intervention in Older Community-Dwelling Adults: A Cohort Study. J Geriatr Phys Ther. 2020 Aug 11:10.1519/JPT.0000000000000262. doi: 10.1519/JPT.0000000000000262. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32796410; PMCID: PMC7876164.

Kasukawa, Yuji et al. “Age-related changes in muscle strength and spinal kyphosis angles in an elderly Japanese population.” Clinical interventions in aging vol. 12 413-420. 20 Feb. 2017, doi:10.2147/CIA.S113352

Fujitani R, Jiroumaru T, Noguchi S, et al. Effect of low back pain on the muscles controlling the sitting posture Journal of Physical Therapy Science. 2021 Mar;33(3):295-298.

Bordoni B, Varacallo M. Anatomy, Head and Neck, Scalenus Muscle. [Updated 2021 Feb 7]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519058/

Thau L, Gandhi J, Sharma S. Physiology, Cortisol. [Updated 2021 Feb 9]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538239

Publishing, H. (2021, February 15). 3 surprising risks of poor posture. Retrieved April 07, 2021, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/3-surprising-risks-of-poor-posture

Zafar, Hamayun et al. “Effect of Different Head-Neck Postures on the Respiratory Function in Healthy Males.” BioMed research international vol. 2018 4518269. 12 Jul. 2018, doi:10.1155/2018/4518269

“Alteration of head and neck positions can have an immediate negative impact on respiratory function.”

Kim, DeokJu et al. “Effect of an exercise program for posture correction on musculoskeletal pain.” Journal of physical therapy science vol. 27,6 (2015): 1791-4. doi:10.1589/jpts.27.1791

Ludwig, Oliver et al. “Targeted Athletic Training Improves the Neuromuscular Performance in Terms of Body Posture From Adolescence to Adulthood – Long-Term Study Over 6 Years.” Frontiers in physiology vol. 9 1620. 27 Nov. 2018, doi:10.3389/fphys.2018.01620

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