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Brain & Nervous System Health Center

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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.

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Winning the Battle

At first, 14-year-old Austin Story resisted the family’s plans to go hiking at beautiful Stokes State Forest on the morning of Tuesday, Aug. 31. “He didn’t want to go hanging out with adults because adults are too slow,” recalls Army Lt. Colonel Shane Story, 48. “But we insisted because it was going to be our last part of a weekend vacation with friends in New Jersey. … We wanted him off the TV and the Xbox and outside, enjoying the forest and the hills.” Despite his initial stubbornness, as soon...

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  • 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.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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