Sunday, November 20, 2011

Apple #559: Getting the Wind Knocked Out of You

A week or so ago, a bunch of friends and I were watching a football game. After one play, one of the players was lying on the field not moving for a few moments. It turned out not to be serious, and we speculated that maybe he'd just had the wind knocked out of him. Then we realized we weren't sure what causes that.

What exactly happens when you get the wind knocked out of you?

  • Basically, your diaphragm stops working correctly.
  • Normally, your diaphragm, which is the muscle beneath your lungs, contacts to pull air into your lungs and relaxes to push air out.
Diagram of the diaphragm. This seems the opposite of what you'd expect, but when the diaphragm contracts, the area in your chest enlarges and allows air to rush in. In other words, you inhale. When the diaphragm relaxes, the chest cavity gets smaller, air rushes out, and you exhale.
(Photo from Merck Manuals)

Here's the motion of the diaphragm in a video:

  • The diaphragm is controlled by a bunch of nerve cells called the solar plexus. Medical professionals call this bunch of nerves the celiac plexus.
  • The solar / celiac plexus lives pretty much in the central-most part of you. It's below the xiphoid process, behind the stomach, but in front of the aorta (major artery from the heart). In other words, it's tucked away in that soft spot beneath where your ribs open out.
  • A sudden, strong blow to your solar / celiac plexus shuts off those nerve cells which in turn stuns the diaphragm muscle, and it spasms.
  • I always thought "spasm" meant that a muscle flutters or twitches. Nope. "Spasm" means that a muscle suddenly and involuntarily contracts and stays that way for some time.
  • So, when your diaphragm spasms, that means it zaps into contracted mode and it stays that way. It's stuck in the position that pulls air into your lungs.
  • That's another weird thing about all this because when you get the wind knocked out of you, it feels like you can't get any breath into your lungs, can't inhale. But your diaphragm is stuck in the inhale position.
  • But since it's stuck there, it can't contract any farther to bring in more air, nor can it relax to push air out, allowing you to inhale new air. So it feels like you've got no air in there.
  • The only thing to do when you're in this situation is wait for your diaphragm to relax out of its spasm -- which it will do shortly, though when you feel like you can't breathe, "shortly" will seem like a long time.
  • You can help your diaphragm relax by lying on your back, bending your knees and pulling your legs up to your chest.
  • Then take long, slow, calming breaths. As your breathe, concentrate on making the breathing happen. This will help get your diaphragm working again as well as helping you to calm down, and it will also get more oxygen circulating so your whole system will start to feel better.

It happens to animals, too. Here, one cat knocks the wind out of the other.

Nemours, KidsHealth, Getting the Wind Knocked Out of You 
Straight Dope, What happens when the wind gets knocked out of you? and message board on the subject 
Motorcross Action Magazine, Just Breathe: Getting the Wind Knocked Out of You 
SportMedBC, Getting the Wind Knocked Out of You 
Merriam Webster, solar plexus and celiac plexus


  1. Nice apple, never knew that. But let's be honest - you just chost this topic so you could say "diagram of the diaphragm"!

    - Mr. Humbly Suggest

    1. The Daily Apple: Apple 559: Getting The Wind Knocked Out Of You >>>>> Download Now

      >>>>> Download Full

      The Daily Apple: Apple 559: Getting The Wind Knocked Out Of You >>>>> Download LINK

      >>>>> Download Now

      The Daily Apple: Apple 559: Getting The Wind Knocked Out Of You >>>>> Download Full

      >>>>> Download LINK 28

  2. fork stealer11/22/2011 5:11 PM

    Great topic! It also must be possible for this to happen through the nerves in the back- I had the same "wind knocked out" feeling once when I had a painful back spasm in my middle back.

  3. I have to say, I've had the wind knocked out of me, and it's no fun. I fell about 20-30 feet off a kite tube (which has since been recalled from serious injuries and deaths!) Got the wind knocked out of me (and I was in the water so that doesn't help the not being able to breathe/panic factor) bruised a lung too. Ouch.

  4. To a great degree wonderful and entrancing post. I was hunting down this kind of information and had a great time examining this one. 스포츠토토티비

  5. 바카라게임사이트 Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a few unrelated data, nevertheless definitely really worth taking a search, whoa did one particular study about Mid East has got additional problerms at the same time

  6. 바카라 I think this is among the most significant information for me.
    And i’m glad reading your article. But wanna remark on some general things, The web site
    style is perfect, the articles is really great : D. Good job,

  7. 먹튀검증 I want to to thank you for this good read!! I absolutely loved every bit of it.

    I’ve got you book-marked to look at new things you post…

  8. The Daily Apple: Apple 559: Getting The Wind Knocked Out Of You >>>>> Download Now

    >>>>> Download Full

    The Daily Apple: Apple 559: Getting The Wind Knocked Out Of You >>>>> Download LINK

    >>>>> Download Now

    The Daily Apple: Apple 559: Getting The Wind Knocked Out Of You >>>>> Download Full

    >>>>> Download LINK

  9. Keep up the good work , I read few blog posts on this internet site and I believe that your site is really interesting and contains lots of fantastic info .

  10. Thanks for sharing this vast knowledge to us in this single article. I really appreciate your work. You are going well. Keep it up and keep sharing.


If you're a spammer, there's no point posting a comment. It will automatically get filtered out or deleted. Comments from real people, however, are always very welcome!