Poor Breathing Can Cause Neck Pain

One major contributor to neck pain may be poor breathing.

A new study examined 44 patients with neck pain and 31 subjects without pain.  Those with neck pain had impaired breathing habits compared to those who did not.  Additionally, those with neck pain exhibited less range of motion and weaker strength of the neck flexors and extensors.


Breathing is meant to be done using the diaphragm.  When the diaphragm is not engaged, accessory muscles of the neck such as the traps, scalenes, and SCM all become overactive trying to do the diaphragms job.  Teaching proper breathing mechanics is essential in order to prevent neck tension or pain from occurring.


Lo´ pez-de-Uralde-Villanueva, I., Sollano-Vallez, E., & Del Corral, T. (2017). Reduction of cervical and respiratory muscle strength in patients with chronic nonspecific neck pain and having moderate to severe disability. Disability and Rehabilitation, 1-10.