How To Loosen A Tight Diaphragm Muscle

Breathing is a critical function in your life, and knowing how to loosen a tight diaphragm muscle is of equal importance. The diaphragm is a respiratory muscle that lowers when you breathe in to expand the lungs and allow the air to get in. On the other hand, it goes back to its original position when you breathe out.

Have you ever found yourself feeling pain around your diaphragm area? What was the cause, and what did you do to release the pain? You can loosen a tight diaphragm muscle by watching how you work out, changing your lifestyle, and finding a proper breathing technique. For severe cases, seek medication from a doctor, where some conditions may require surgery.

Symptoms of a Tight Diaphragm Muscle

The symptoms of a tight diaphragm may be different from one person to the other because the causes vary. Besides, they can be mild or severe. Some symptoms you may have include;

  • Sharp pains when breathing out or taking a deep breath
  • Shortness of breath and discomfort after taking meals
  • Low levels of oxygen
  • Struggling or inability to take a full breath
  • Pain on your sides when sneezing, coughing, or working out
  • Spasms that comes in varying intensity
  • Painful chest or lower ribs

7 Possible Causes of a Tight Diaphragm and How to Treat Them

Several issues cause pain in your diaphragm muscle. Here are a number of them;

Musculoskeletal Issues

When you experience trauma, consistent coughing, or twisting movement, you may have pain similar to that diaphragm pain. Also, the pain from a broken rib can feel like that of a diaphragm.

You can loosen the diaphragm pain by purchasing over-the-counter pain relievers such as naproxen. Also, you can do breathing exercises or seek heat therapy or ice therapy within the first 72 hours.

If the pain comes from a broken rib, it will heal on its own within a week. However, you can fasten the healing process by avoiding strenuous activities, resting, and breathing exercises.

Gallbladder Diseases

You can confuse gallbladder pain with diaphragm pain because the pain occurs in the mid to upper right abdomen. Some other symptoms that confirm gallbladder issues are fever, changes in urine or bowel movements, vomiting, chills, and nausea.

For a doctor to confirm a gallbladder issue such as gallstones, they need to do a thorough medical examination. Besides, they may recommend several tests, including chest and abdominal x-ray, CT scan, ultrasound, or MRI scan.

After the examination, the doctor may recommend medication, surgery, or inflammation drugs to ease the pain depending on your condition. Also, lifestyle changes such as exercising regularly, losing weight steadily if you are overweight, and not smoking help manage gallbladder issues.


Pregnancy can also cause a tight diaphragm. The more the baby grows, the more your uterus pushes your diaphragm upwards. This leads to shortness of breath. However, you should not be worried as this is normal, but you can seek a doctor if the pain persists.

How do you loosen a tight diaphragm muscle during pregnancy? There is no cure for this, but the discomfort and mild pain will disappear once you give birth. However, if you have severe breathing difficulties and pain, please see a doctor. You can risk your life and that of your child.

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Doing regular body exercises is essential to your health. However, strenuous activities such as running can restrict your breathing or cause pain in your sides, making your diaphragm muscles tighten.

Take a brief break to loosen the tight diaphragm when exercising your body. It helps to regulate your breathing and ease the spasms. The pain accelerates the more you keep going.

Also, you can do diaphragmatic breathing exercises because they offer some relief. It helps strengthen your diaphragm muscle, decrease the need for oxygen, and use less effort when breathing. 

However, do not stop exercising because you feel pain in your sides. The pain gets worse if you stop stretching your body. Besides, do proper warm-ups before you begin to exercise.

Nerve Damage

The phrenic nerve is a nerve that controls the functioning of the diaphragm muscle. If this nerve is damaged because of an accident or surgery, it may interfere with your usual breathing process.

You can suspect that your phrenic nerve is not functioning well when you have problems with hiccups. In severe cases, you may get diaphragm paralysis.

The best way to treat nerve damage that interferes with your diaphragm is to seek medication. Depending on nerve damage extent, the doctor will prescribe your treatment.

Hiatal Hernia

It is a condition where your upper stomach pushes through an opening (hiatus) at the lower part of your diaphragm. There are smaller Hiatal hernias that are unnoticeable, and people live with them.

However, the condition can be severe, causing a tight diaphragm, bloody stool, and difficulties in swallowing. Besides, you may experience shortness of breath, heartburn, and vomiting.

Seeking medication is one of the best ways to treat such a condition. Besides, you can embrace lifestyle changes such as eating food in small quantities frequently and taking your meals three hours before bedtime. Also, if you are a smoker, quit and avoid being overweight. Surgery is the best option in cases where a hiatal hernia causes severe symptoms.

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It is a long-term condition where your body’s immune system is hyperactive and fights against your normal healthy body tissues. Some lupus symptoms include damage to your blood, lungs, heart, kidney, and joints. You may also experience swelling and inflammation.

When lupus affects your lungs, you may have chest pains when taking a deep breath. This can cause pain in your diaphragm muscles.

To loosen a tight diaphragm muscle caused by lupus, seek a doctor. The doctor will diagnose you, and depending on your case, they will put you under drugs and recommend lifestyle changes.


The diaphragm is an essential organ in your breathing system. And sometimes, due to strenuous activities or underlying health conditions, you may have pain in it. There are different ways to loosen the diaphragm, including proper breathing exercises, seeking medication, and changing your lifestyle.   

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