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Spinal Cord Injury: Breathing Practice

Topic Overview

Lung and breathing problems are common in a spinal cord injury (SCI). This is because you may not be able to use some of the muscles necessary for breathing, or they may be very weak. This makes it difficult to breath, cough, and bring up mucus from the lungs, which leads to a greater risk of lung infections such as pneumonia.

By practicing breathing every day, you can strengthen the muscles you use for breathing.

  • Take a deep breath and hold it for a few seconds; then slowly breathe out.
  • Take a deep breath, quickly. You want to breathe in as much air as you can, as fast as you can. Then breathe out as fast as you can.
  • Take three breaths before breathing out. Take a first deep breath and hold it. Without breathing out, take another breath and hold it. Finally, take a third breath. Then slowly breathe out.

Credits

Current as of: November 20, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Brian O'Brien, MD, FRCPC - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Nancy E. Greenwald, MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

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