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are there any exercises to strengthen your diaphragm??

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    are there any exercises to strengthen your diaphragm??

    I am a C4 injured 22 years. Wondering if there are any exercises to strengthen your diaphragm or vital capacity? I use a sperometer occasionally, but does anyone do anything different. Also is there any medications or treatments that contribute to better breathing.


    Hello I have partial Diaphragm loss since 98, also z type alpha 1 (genetics and Ashtma) the things I have done while they cannot fix any of it (pulomnary didnt want me to try the Diaphramatic thing that Christopher reeves did yet).

    MUCUS is one very very important factor, dont let it build up if this is a problme for you get a suction machine, I couoldnt be withouth mine its a true lifesaver because you dont want those secretions or buildup to sit in your lungs ( mine cannot expell all that so have to suction) there are diffrent kinds some go further down and are deeper suctioning, mine is a Lay hanging in mouth kind this also for me at least prevents drool building up. Mucinex or Robitussin DM are also used.

    Learning to take slow deep breaths EVERY DAY not just now and then, thats a REALLY important thing to do to keep your Diprahgm functions at its best.

    AVOIDING Respirtory illness is a REAL key here, I get flu shot every year, I avoid severly crowded enviorments espically in late fall and early winter, last year I had 3 respitory illness's and was very ill, couldnt get much left of my diprahgm working so it was a long wionter season for me, keep antibacterial gel with you wherever you go, 'i use it all the time, I also use surgical masks in certain enviroments and at home if anyone has even a sniffle.

    The Flatter you lay the more pressure you put on diaphragm (when flat on back), I havent been able to lay flat in over 8 years, my bed is adujustible so as to avoid as much mucus as possibnle to not enter my throat since Ihave lost much of my Swallowing and coughing .

    Keep circulation good, I have almost none left in left calve down to toes so foot is raised and massaged daily.

    hope this hleps, Im not a doctor but have worrekd with pulomnary doctors for a long time now and although its frightehing to not have functioning diorpahgm I do try to do my best to keeep it as strong as what I have left. The key is not losing MORE thatn you have lost, or if you havent lost much to keep it strong.

    Peace and hugss


      forogot to mention I ahve used opxygen since 98 also but not 24/7, just Depends on how its sgoing that day.



        jo, Thank you for the advice and recommendations. I definitely should practice more deep breathing techniques. Do you use Dragon dictate on your computer?


          Hi shamrock you are welcome, my dragon speakeasy works on and off, I am talking into it right now, its the only time my spelling will look at least 95% correct IF it is a decent speaking day for me, but many times its not as I lose most my voice quality and my dragon is very old now and still have not gotten a new one because I actually forget , Im Brain and Cord so I forget the dumbest things, simple things, like cleaning my suction machine and then going to use it and it looks like a sewer in there.

          Yes do the breathing, do you also use Dragon?, it has worked well for me over the years overall, but lack of air and decline in voice quality that comes and goes makes for some odd looking letters that come out when I speak,ha,ha,ha,ha.

          I like your posting name, Ive had to change mine a time or 2 when I changed internet service over the years on here. anytime you need help with similar breathing stuff Im happy to help, just trying to avoid a perm/trach if I can.

          Peace always


            jo, I use really old dragon, version 3.0 I think, I have a newer version (8.0), but I like the mouse commands much better with the older version. It generally does ok, some days I have voice problems, but usually not 2 bad. Thanks again for the advice, hopefully it will work maintaining what diaphragm strength I have.


              So you know what your vital capacity is? It would be good to get this tested so that you can then gauge any progress you make with exercise.

              There are two basic good ways to strengthen the diaphragm muscle. Both involve doing resistive exercises, which is the best way to do strengthening.

              Lay on your back. No abdominal binder. Lay a weight (start small) or sand bag on the abdomen half way between the belly button and the ribs. Breathe normally. Build up to 10 minutes of doing this, then add more weight. Do this several times daily.

              The other method (which can be combined with the first) is to use a PFlex. This looks like a kazoo, but has adjustable amounts of resistance by turning the dial. You use the nose plugs, and just hold it in your mouth, breathing normally in and out (in any position). You build up to 10 minutes time (stop when you start to feel short of breath) at the largest hole, then go to the next smallest hole and build up to 10 minutes again. Do this several times daily. If you can do the smallest hole at 10 minutes, then continue to use it several times daily to maintain the strength you have gained.

              The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.


                Hey Ive done the little sand bag, worked pretty well but I couldnt be totally flat without my oxygen but it does work and had least affect on me physicaly. Wont be doing that while Im on this heart event monitor for a month I can imagine the faxes it would be sending in , just going potty in my diaper makes my heart race.
                Good Luck shamrock let us know if these things all work, I'll be thinking of you.

                Jo the Tired slug tonight.


                  I actually had this pflex in my home, must have gotten discharged with it in a hospital stay. Did the biggest hole for 15 minutes, wasn't really that difficult, hopefully I can improve. Had my brother tape 2 5lb weights together and did that for 15 minutes this morning, little challenging, not to bad. Hopefully I will improve somewhat. Thank you KLD & JO