Asthma & Posture: How Are They Related?

Posted on: December 13th, 2016

Article review: Asthma, posture and breathing well.

Learn how the posture and breathing of people with asthma is affected. Asthma is a serious condition that can last for a lifetime, and the pharmaceutical solution to asthma (corticosteroids) can have serious long term consequences. Understand how asthma can be managed by correcting posture and allowing people to be less dependent on steroids. Many of the postural changes mentioned here begin when asthmatics are young; correcting these postural changes at a young age is much easier!

Citation: Almeida, V. P., et al. “Correlation between pulmonary function, posture, and body composition in patients with asthma.” Revista Portuguesa de Pneumologia (English Edition) 19.5 (2013): 204-210.

Link to article, click here

Quick Takeaways:

1: People with asthma have increased forward head posture when compared to normal individuals, and forward head posture is known to reduce breathing efficiency. [1]

2: Muscles involved in exhaling are overactive in individuals with asthma, leading to fast exhalations and slower inhalations.

3: Overactive exhalation muscles lead to an increased curvature in the mid and lower back. This leads to less efficient breathing and can lead to low back pain as well.

4: Reducing forward head carriage and reducing the curvature of the mid and low back towards normal will allow for more efficient breathing and reduce stress on the spine as well!

What did the study focus on?

This study looked at three main factors that are involved in asthma: Breathing factors, posture factors and body index factors. Let’s break down each category to understand what this study means.

1: Respiratory variables- This study used spirometry to measure how much air is held in the lungs and how fast it can be released by exhaling. It also utilized plethsmography which measures the total change in the

spirometry to measure asthma

plethysmograph Spirometry measures how fast and how much air you breathe out (top) plethysmography measures changes in the volume of the body, such as chest expansion (bottom).

volume of part of the body. In this study it was used to assess the change in the volume of the chest while breathing.

The researchers found that people with asthma have hyperinflated lungs which have overactive breathing muscles. These overactive breathing muscles lead to an increased ability to exhale rapidly but inhale more slowly. Additionally, the diaphragm becomes shortened, leading to less “belly breathing”.

2: Posture analysis- Posture was analyzed in this study by placing markers on the body and measuring the angles and relationships between these points. The researchers then compared the results of their study to established normal values. They found the following:

Asthmatics have increased forward head carriage. Forward head carriage means that the head is carried in front of the shoulders rather than on top of them. The airway is pulled tight and has less space for air to travel through.

Asthmatics also have increased anterior pelvic tilt which is associated with increased thoracic (mid back/rib cage) curvature. Increased back curvature makes the spine vulnerable to compression injuries and low back pain in general.

asthma and posture

Marker placement for posture analysis

What does it mean?

Posture is important and can affect how well a person can breath. Poor posture was associated with decreased breathing efficiency in this study. We specialize in correcting posture here in our office. If you or someone you love is suffering with asthma or other respiratory issues, we may be able to help! A simple exam is all that is required to get a detailed analysis of your posture and start correcting it.

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