Breathing retraining with chest wall mobilization improves respiratory reserve and decreases hyperactivity of accessory breathing muscles during respiratory excursions: A randomized controlled trial

Acta Bioeng Biomech. 2020;22(3):153-159.


Purpose: The aim of this paper was to evaluate the effects of breathing retraining with chest wall mobilization on the onset of accessory breathing muscle recruitment and respiratory reserve in individuals with chronic neck pain.

Methods: Thirty-two participants with non-specific chronic neck pain were randomly assigned into intervention and control groups. The intervention group received 30 minutes of breathing retraining with chest wall mobilization and the control group was assigned to rest for 30 minutes. Electromyography (EMG) of upper trapezius (UT), scalene (SC), and sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscles were recorded during respiratory excursions by cycling for 12 minutes. Measurement of maximum voluntary ventilation (MVV), chest expansion, and pain intensity were taken during normal breathing. The immediate effects within each group and between two groups were analyzed.

Results: Significant improvement in respiratory reserve was observed in the intervention group compared to control group through prolonged EMG onset of accessory breathing muscles. Moreover, increase of MVV, chest expansion and decrease in pain intensity were observed.

Conclusions: This research suggests that breathing patterns and chest expansion should be considered within the physical assessment of breathing retraining, and that chest wall mobilization offers clinically important improvements in patients with chronic neck pain.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscles / physiology*
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Pulmonary Ventilation / physiology
  • Respiration*
  • Thoracic Wall / physiology*
  • Young Adult