The Dysfunctional Breathing Cycle
The Cycle of Breathing Dysfunction 💫
Dysfunctional breathing is a condition in which breathing mechanics become stuck in a self perpetuating cycle of breathing imbalance which results in a system not able to adapt to the challenges of daily life.
This is a cycle where...
1) "a trigger" causes changes to breathing mechanics
2) changes to breathing patterns cause symptoms (from unsatisfied breathing to chest pain)
3) these symptoms cause anxiety
4) anxiety causes further changes to breathing mechanics
5) further changes to breathing mechanics cause more symptoms.. and so on.
But how does something like this happen?? As you can see from the diagram there are two places it can start.
1) stress induced.
This is where a psychological insult causes an increased period of anxiety which starts the breathing dysfunction. This can be anything from a prolonged stressful period at work to post a traumatic incident.
2) pathology induced.
This occurs when a illness causes a change in breathing mechanics which can start the dysfunctional breathing cycle. Common examples include a period of uncontrolled asthma, IBS, and post pulmonary embolism.
Once on the cycle it can be extremely difficult to break without specialist treatment. This involves:
A) recognising the cycle
B) treating the trigger (e.g. new asthma puffers or counselling)
C) working with a trained physiotherapist to break it!