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Course Outline and Objectives

Just Breathe 101: Respiration and the Impact on Health, Posture, Pain, Movement, and Performance.

Just Breathe 101 is a comprehensive examination of the function of breathing on the human body and actions for the management of dysfunction. The information presented in this seminar series ultimately will be become necessary tools for the clinician, in the recognizing and development of strategies for alleviating Breathing Pattern Disorders. It is imperative that normal breathing patterns are retrained and maintained for spine health and overall patient wellbeing.


How does the way we breathe alter multiple systems of the body and how is the core connected to how we breathe?

These are some of the questions that will be answered in this in-depth seminar on respiration and its ultimate effects on the core and multiple body systems.

The Thorax is a vital component in spinal function. It is the center of trunk rotation and the center of respiration. The Thorax is a prime base for muscle and fascial connections that affect the cervical and lumbo/pelvic regions. When the respiratory system is in dysfunction, it can alter the function of the thorax, the body's physiology, trunk control, and ultimately ideal movement. The diaphragm plays a vital role in posture and respiration. It has intimate connections, muscularly, and neurologically with the lumbar spine, abdominals, and pelvic floor, which contributes to the diaphragm's ability to maintain intra-abdominal pressure, a fundamental role in spinal stability.

Altered breathing patterns brought on by life, stress, pain, and injury can alter the biochemistry of the blood system and produce negative effects on the health of the body. Faulty breathing patterns are rarely looked at as being a possible cause of spinal dysfunctions as well as propagating continued pain patterns in fibromyalgia, chronic pelvic and chest pain, gut pain, and chronic fatigue. Sleep apnea is also being recognized as a significant factor in accidents, mood disorders, and cardiovascular disease. In the acute care realm, the diaphragm is now being studied extensively due to the dysfunction that occurs with mechanical ventilation utilized in surgeries, injury, and disease. Functional knowledge of the respiratory system, thorax anatomy, and biomechanics and how it integrates with functional core stability will enable the student to connect and integrate the functional thorax into whole-body mechanics.

Videos in this series will deal with rib mechanics, rib decompression, breathing programs, examination, and treatment that can be utilized with almost all musculoskeletal patients.  Adjunct courses of Just Breathe 101 includes the topics of Sleep Apnea, Athletic Performance, and The Diaphragm in Critical care.  

Dysfunction of the respiratory complex, trunk muscular imbalances, muscular inhibition and weakness, myofascial restrictions, loss of axial rotation, and chronic hyperventilation, all have significant effects on posture, trunk stability, chronic pain, upper extremity, and lower extremity function and motion. This seminar will enable the student to connect the negative effects of dysfunction of respiration to specific pathologies and generate answers on the management of these pathologies.


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  2. Course Outline and Objectives


Section One: Anatomy and Biomechanics of the Region:

Cervical, thoracic and rib biomechanics, and treatment of ribs.

Anatomy and biomechanics of the Region: deal with the anatomy and biomechanics of the thorax and its integration with the cervical spine, shoulder girdle, and the thoracolumbar junction. The biomechanics of the region is outlined in detail and are accompanied by demonstration videos on rib decompression, clavicular decompression, and a case history of traumatic rib dysfunction treatment.

Course Content:

  • Thoracic/ thorax, cervicothoracic, thoracolumbar and anterior shoulder girdle anatomy
    • Bony and articular components
  • Biomechanics of the Thoracic, thorax/rib, cervical, cervicothoracic, thoracolumbar
  • Biomechanical link of the shoulder girdle to the thorax
  • Case history of the treatment of a traumatic thoracic rib dysfunction

Lab video: rib decompressions, clavicular decompression

  1. Describe the biomechanics of rotation of a thoracic ring at the levels T1-T7.
  2. Describe the biomechanics of the Cervical spine, Thoracic spine, ribs, clavicle, and manubrium with the elevation of the right or left shoulder.
  3. Describe the biomechanics of flexion and extension at the Costotransverse joint T9 level.
  4.   Describe the differences in motion of the mobile segments between T3 -T7 with side flexion occurring first in the Thoracic Spine.


Section Two: Function and Physiology of Respiration:

Function and Physiology of Respiration continue with the anatomical makeup of the thorax that was initiated in Section One.

Detailed descriptions of the muscular component of the thorax including the function of these muscles will be discussed. Correct breathing mechanics and the physiology of respiration will be covered. Adverse physiology will be introduced. This thread will be continued within sections three and four.

The importance of the diaphragm and its numerous functions will be presented. Discussion of Differential Diagnosis of the Thoracic spine will also be discussed.

  • Muscles of respiration anatomy
  • Diaphragm, intercostals, scalenes, levator costae, transversus abdominus
  • Mechanics of breathing
  • Normal breathing-mechanical effects
  • Physiology of Respiration
  • Lung volumes
  • Lung perfusion
  • Blood pH, hypercapnia and hypocapnia responses
  • The function of the Diaphragm


Section Three: Altered Breathing Patterns Effects on the Spine

This section is an in-depth discussion of the functions and the consequences of dysfunction of the diaphragm on trunk control, LBP, and postural deviations. Dysfunction of the cervical spine, shoulder, posture will be related to upper thoracic breathing. Discussion of Incontinence and the effect on trunk control will be discussed

Differential diagnosis

  • Dysfunction of the diaphragm
  • Diaphragm and thoracic restrictions effects on the posture and stability of the spine
  • Respiratory alkalosis/hyperventilation and the consequences
  • Relation to incontinence
  • Balance dysfunction with respiration
  • Upper thoracic breathing dysfunction effects on the UE and Cervical spine
  • Case history of a golfer with a dysfunctional diaphragm and treatment


  1. Describe suboptimal breathing patterns and their effect on the cervical spine and chronic pain.
  2. Describe how the diaphragm can alter the thoracolumbar junction.
  3. Describe how dysfunctional breathing can alter incontinence and spine stability.


Section Four: Altered Breathing Patterns and Somatic Dysfunction

In this section, the anatomy and effects of the sympathetic nervous system are introduced. Discussion of sub-optimal breathing patterns and the multitude of dysfunctions that can be related to it will be presented.

  • Autonomic nervous system anatomy and effects
  • Suboptimal breathing patterns
  • over-inflation and upper chest breathing
  • Dysfunction of the diaphragm
  • Respiratory alkalosis/hyperventilation and the consequences
  • Somatic Dysfunctions, Chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, chronic pain
  • Case history on fibromyalgia
  1. Describe how altered breathing patterns can alter pH and how this can affect the body.
  2. Describe the autonomic nervous system and function.
  3. Name three physiological consequences of respiratory alkalosis.
  4. Describe suboptimal breathing patterns and their effect on the cervical spine and chronic pain.


Section Five:  Respiration Lab

The videos for the Respiration Labs will present observational details, breathing techniques, and numerous breathing exercises.

  • breathing observations
  • chest expansion measurement
  • lateral costal expansion
  • breathing techniques
  • lateral trunk rotation
  • overhead breathing reach
  • three sniffs
  • modified pilates 100
  • Blowing up a balloon
  • seated breathing reach
  • supine breathing reach


Section Six:  Breathing Retraining Theories

Discussion of various breathing retraining theories that are being utilized around the world.

  1. List two theories of breathing retraining methods.
  2. Describe the theory of Resonant Frequency Breathing.
  3. Describe the theory and design of Kolar’s Neurodynamic Muscular Stabilization program.
  4. Describe the concept of Linda Joy Lee’s Thoracic Ring Approach.







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