A retraction is a medical term for when the area between the ribs and in the neck
sinks in when a person with asthma attempts to inhale. Retractions are a sign someone
is working hard to breathe. Normally, when you take a breath, the diaphragm and the
muscles around your ribs create a vacuum that pulls air into your lungs. (It's kind
of like sucking liquid through a straw.) But if a person is having trouble breathing,
extra muscles kick into action. These muscles cause retractions, which can be seen
as the person tries to inhale.