Brilliant link about air trapping and pursed lip breathing, plus "lung excursion" exercises

Two months ago I posted about what I thought might be intercostal muscle pain - - and qbjb came up with this link which several ppl found very interesting, and asked me to post it. So apologies for the late posting but here it finally is. And many thanks to @qbjb.

A brilliant piece on air trapping, diaphragm problems, pursed lip breathing, from U.S. site Efforts (Emphysema Foundation For Our Right To Survive).

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11 Replies

  • That was a good article 02, and easy to understand.

    I sometimes try to practice PLB, but it always seems to end up making me feel a bit anxious and panicky. xx

  • I practice PLB whilst out walking, driving the car, watching t.v etc. I do not normally have a problem with air trapping or low 02 saturations but one day I may need it so better learning now. Never come across lung excursion exercises but will be trying them. Very interesting thankyou.

  • By Jove I think I've got it! Been trying to do PLB for a couple weeks now. The physio tasked my with 20 mins per day and I have never managed it - but by combining diaphragm breathing with PLB seems perfectly natural. WoW!

    Thanks for the article

  • A very good link there O2.

    I cannot stress the importance of breathing exercises. It was the first thing I studied after diagnosis (long before I joined here) and have practiced them ever since and fervently believe that this is the secret of my success in raising my spirometry results and enabling me to push more with physically exercising. ie an upward spiral rather than a downward spiral.

    I use PLB all day long while working, it has become second nature and don't need to think about it. Chest excursion is what I described using as part of a relaxation technique yesterday. Even as I sit typing this I am using gentle PLB as I have not taken my Inhalers yet, which is a far cry from when I used to have to take a couple of puffs just to be able to get out of bed in the mornings and breaking my neck for a jimmy riddle, waiting for that few minutes for the inhaler to work.

  • Hi 2greys, I used to automatically reach for my inhaler when I woke......desperately sometimes. But rarely took a while , but I tried to relax and do Pursed lip breathing first....the inhaler was to hand if I needed it so that was a reassurance.

    The same during the day.....stop and relax, if needed bend slightly forward and rest, but with inhaler near.....then a few Pursed Lip Breaths. Then inhaler if necessary.

  • Thanks very much for the advice.....especially about pursed lip breathing.

    I have even seen on you tube, some bad practice of the technique......much too much forceful ,big breathing in and out.......gently please. I tried this PLB while in A and E using their oximeter, gently.

    I watched myself breathing in the mirror......not good......but I was upper chest, throat breathing with tense shoulders....not gentle diaphragmatic belly breathing, as it should have been. I try to breathe low , slow and gentle......easy to say but hard to do in practice. It uses less energy and hopefully reduces the risk of hyperventilating.

    Try putting one hand on the upper chest and one on the's the belly hand that should move more.......but gently, I have been trying to consciously relax my throat muscles....I find when I am stressed they tighten up and I flip into upper chest breathing again. A vicious circle.

    The Mindfulness and Meditation courses I have studied help me relax and become aware of my reactions to stress.

    Thanks O2, the article explained my larger rib cage too, and long lungs.

  • Hi Knitter,

    My respiratory nurse told me to lay my hands Palm s up at my sides, when i am upper chest breathing, and it works! You seem to automatically relax your shoulders.

  • Thanks for posting that , I often find articles to long or complicated for me . But even I can imagine see the difference between a balloon and a paper bag. I think my problem is that when I am very busy at work I just forget to breathe ,so maybe I need to slow down and think about it a bit more .Allen.

  • Hi O2, good article, seem to remember reading this some years ago and think I have a copy

    filed away somewhere on my pc. Pursed lip breathing works a treat more or less when at rest but much more difficult when walking, just don't seem able to get enough air for the energy used so always have to stop, relax and get back correct breathing technique. Thank you for posting,

    Best wishes, Jo

  • Thanks to everyone who's replied or liked. I think this article works so well because it's written by people with lung disease who know from experience what they're talking about.

    Take care all :)

  • Many thanks for posting this link. There was a lot of very helpful advice in there.

    Having been especially short of breath recently, I recognise my bad habits and now have good, clear advice on how to remedy this. Breathing in front of a mirror is such a good tip, but one I'd never come across before.

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