The diaphragm is an important muscle in your body and can trigger a variety of pains and ailments, if it is tense or contains trigger points.
However, it is possible to relieve these tensions and trigger points with a self-massage.
Even if you’ve never heard of it before or if you have doubts, I encourage you to take a closer look.
On this page you will learn
Trigger points in the diaphragm mainly trigger
These pains arise primarily when breathing, or more precisely when exhaling strongly. Nevertheless, the pain may also occur during inhalation.
In addition to pain, tensions and trigger points in the diaphragm can lead to the following ailments
Side stitches occur mainly in the “lower front” of the ribs.
Dyspnoea or shortness of breath no longer allows for deep inhalation. This shortness of breath caused by trigger points can become so severe that the person concerned fears for his or her life.
This shortness of breath is often triggered by panic attacks or situations preceding such attacks.
This is partly due to the fact that your entire respiratory muscles react strongly to emotional tensions.
Many muscles react sensitively to emotional tension.
The following diagnoses refer to conditions which can cause similar pains compared to those caused by trigger points in the diaphragm.
Please note that trigger points and the diagnoses below are NOT mutually exclusive. They can coexist!
The diaphragm is your most important respiratory muscle. With every inhalation, it contracts.
By doing that …
This mechanism draws air into the body.
Note: Exhalation is normally a passive process, i.e. it takes place without you doing anything. The diaphragm relaxes and the thorax decreases again, which forces air out of the body.
A very simplified comparison would be the return of a stretched spring to its original state.
Trigger points in the diaphragm are mainly activated by by active overload.
These things go hand in hand with increased breathing, especially with increased inhalation.
The strong inhalations can overload the muscle. Remember: The muscle contracts with each inhalation.
Furthermore, tensions and trigger points in the rectus abdominis (one of your abdominal muscles) can activate trigger points in the diaphragm.
In this case one speaks of satellite trigger points. Trigger points in one muscle lead to the activation of trigger points in another muscle.
Therefore, I recommended looking at the rectus abdominis, if you have problems with your diaphragm.
Since the diaphragm is covered by your ribs, you cannot feel it, at least not as a layperson.
However, this is not a problem because you can still massage it – at least to a certain extent. More about this in the next chapter.
It’s possible to massage the diaphragm yourself at the most inferior part of your ribs. This is where you have access to the deepest fibers of the muscle, for a few centimeters.
For the massage you only need your fingers. For the massage, follow the next steps.
Note: You do not have to exert strong pressure during the massage. The diaphragm reacts to slight pressure.
In addition, this area is very sensitive quite often, and strong pressure would be unbearable for many people.
If the tension or pain is very strong, the massage and breathing can cause discomfort and a feeling of anxiety.
So, feel your way slowly towards the massage, listen to the reactions of your body and give yourself time.
Under no circumstances should you attempt to completely eliminate tension in just one massage session – this is usually not possible!