Most of us do this habit when we want to look our best: We either suck in our stomach while we're at a meeting or while we're having sex with the lights on. It's not good for our bodies or our minds. Aside from affecting our breathing patterns, sucking in our stomach also hurts our pelvic floor and abdominal muscles. Check out the following article for more details and some advice on breaking the habit and finally getting rid of your belly fat.
What is Hourglass Syndrome?
If you are suffering from hourglass syndrome, you will suck in your abdomen times and times again. Doing so triggers the release of your upper abdominal muscles, which then helps push the air out of your lungs. This happens because the diaphragm, which is under your lungs, is moving in the opposite direction.
Sucking in your abdomen allows you to pull both of your lower ribs and your diaphragm inward. If you do this for a long time, you can enjoy a smaller waist and an upturned belly button. However, it's not ideal, as it can lead to weight gain.
What Causes Hourglass Syndrome?
There are 3 main causes why this hourglass syndrome occurs:
1. Poor habits/ aesthetics
If you want a flat stomach, holding it will likely lead to an imbalance in the activation of the stomach, which will cause your brain to switch from its usual patterns of recovery to an altered one. This is a bit like a virus trying to corrupt a computer program.
2. Non-ideal Development
It's believed that around 30% of babies start with a faulty program when it comes to muscle activation. This can lead to the development of a type of abdominal grip that can last for a long time.
3. Protective patterns
The prolonged abdominal grip can also develop as a result of a painful injury, and it can last for a long time after the pain has gone away. According to Janet Travell, a physician working for John F Kennedy, muscles learn to protect themselves after an injury.
Consequences of Hourglass Syndrome
1. Lower Back Pain
The diaphragm is a vital component of the lower back, and when it's not working properly, it can lead to the weakening of the lower back. This is why the other muscles need to work harder to make up for the loss of the diaphragm. Overworking these muscles can lead to pain and tightness.
2. Neck Pain
If the diaphragm doesn't descend properly, this can cause a strain on the neck. It's also important to maintain a steady breathing position to avoid experiencing headaches and neck pain. In an hourglass disorder, the normal pattern of motion shifts, and this often leads to the shoulders and chest lifting instead of compensating. This condition is a major cause of neck pain.
3. Acid Reflux
The diaphragm is a vital part of maintaining a healthy and balanced stomach. It helps prevent the contents of the stomach from going back into the esophagus. If it is damaged, this can lead to an increase in acid reflux.
Why do You Need to Stop Sucking in Your Stomach?
1. Sucking in Your Stomach Disrupts Normal Breathing
Your diaphragm is the part of your body that helps your lungs fill with air. It must move down to help your lungs breathe properly. When you contract the abdominals, it stops this natural movement and forces your body to breathe differently.
2. Sucking in Your Stomach will Intrigue Pelvic Floor Issues Like Incontinence and Pelvic Organ Prolapse.
The repetitive contraction of the upper abdominal muscles can put excessive strain on the pelvic floor muscles, which can lead to issues such as incontinence and bowel leaks. This can also cause unsupported pelvic organs to fall lower.
3. You will Suffer More Frequency from Peeling When You Sneeze or Laugh
For prolonged periods, lifting your abdominal muscles can increase intra-abdominal pressure. When you cough, sneeze or jump, this additional pressure can add to the already weak pelvic floor.
4. You will Experience Exacerbate Pelvic Pain and Sexual Dysfunction
Your deep abdominals are designed to support your pelvis and lower back by co-contracting with the muscles in your pelvic floor. The constant tension in your pelvic floor can cause pain and sexual dysfunction.
How to Treat Hourglass Syndrome
When you relax and soften your belly, you can remove the negative effects of holding everything in. This allows your body to breathe normally and restore its normal breathing pattern.
According to experts, the first step in improving your abdominals is to have the awareness that you have a habit of holding them in. This can be done by learning to relax the muscles in your upper abdominals. Doing so can be very challenging if you've been doing this for a long time.
Take a deep breath in and expand the stomach. Keep the shoulders and elbows off the floor. You should feel the stomach moving into your thighs, but keep the shoulders and elbows from lifting.
For three to five minutes, repeat this breathing pattern. It will help you develop a deeper and more balanced sense of movement in your daily activities. You can also integrate this into your daily sitting, walking, and driving.
If you catch yourself holding in a tight position, try placing an open hand on your belly. According to Rawlins, the muscles in your belly respond well to touch. For instance, if you're an upper abdominal gripper, place your hand on the bottom portion of your rib cage.
When your lower abs are stiff, place your hand between your hips and above your pubic bone. Some authoritative experts demonstrated that this will help your brain understand where you're going to soften. As you breathe into your hand, your muscles will start to relax.
If you're having a hard time releasing your abdominals or experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction, it's time to see a physical therapist. They can help you improve your range of motion and reduce pain. Aside from manual therapy, a PT can also use trigger points and myofascial release techniques to help improve the quality of your life.
Getting back into a comfortable position and maintaining a soft and relaxed stomach are some of the benefits of having a professional physical therapist (PT). According to some research, a good PT can help you regain control of your muscles and improve your breathing.
Battling hourglass syndrome is a long way to go. Apart from doing yoga and stop sucking, you can choose Coobie seamless shapewear to flatten your hourglass figure and keep you comfortable and elegant for the whole day.
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