Just a comment on problems with the diaphragm: T-7 (thoracic spine) sends the signals to the diaphragm. I broke my back in 92', T-7, and also damaged the cervical spine (C-4,5,6). The nerves feeding out at T-7 are sort of like the pilot for your diaphragm. Any inflammation, strain, stenosis, etc. will create a major problem, and what Jenn describes mimics what happens to me when I do any heavy lifting, awkward bending, carrying around a two year old, etc. It is worth asking for the exam, if you have not already had an MRI of your spine. Stenosis or degeneration of the disc in that area could be behind it.
In your message on medhelp you talked about the band you felt under rib cage across the diaphragm. Is that from your asthma? Have you ever checked out the MS hug which can cause a tight band feeling in that location? I am being checked for asthma related problems as well and would like to know if this band i feel is related to the asthma/emphysema or could be the ms hug. Hope to hear from you soon.
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