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Breathing Cramps
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Breathing Cramps

I have been having trouble with breathing cramps for several months. It is like someone is hugging me so tight I can't breathe until they let go. I have been cleared of MS. Even though the specialist says he has seen this with other conditions, it is not like me. It seems to be brought on by sensory overload. I have hyperacusis and photophobia. I have just found out I have a vitamin B12 deficiency. Could this cause those cramps?
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Your description “breathing cramps” suggests that you may be experiencing spasms of either the diaphragm or of the muscles of the chest wall, some of which are muscles of respiration.  The specialist you saw (you didn’t mention the type of specialist.  Was he/she a neurologist) is correct that there are many, many causes of abnormal muscle function, including spasms or twitches.  The categories include neuromuscular disease, panic attacks (that might also be accompanied by hyperacusis and photophobia), metabolic diseases including those characterized by disorders of calcium metabolism and some vitamin deficiencies (but not usually, to my knowledge, Vitamin B12 deficiency).

It is good news that you have been “cleared of MS” but have other diseases of nerve and/or muscle been ruled out?  If not they should be.  You should also ask the specialist to specifically cite the other conditions with which he has observed cramps similar to yours.  It should also be determined if these cramps will respond to the application of classical muscle relaxation techniques.

The best approach would be if the “cramps” you’ve experienced could be more carefully defined with careful questioning, by a neuromuscular specialist (a neurologist or a rheumatologist) and then witnessed by that physician specialist.

B 12 deficiency is rare in the U.S., caused more often by impaired absorption of the vitamin than by malnutrition.  This deficiency is often accompanied by and/or mistaken for folic acid deficiency.  Whatever the cause of your B 12 deficiency, it should be quickly identified and treated; this might require your taking an injectable form of the vitamin.  Despite what I state, above, your cramps might resolve with this treatment.  

Good luck
Thank you for your advice. The cramps start in my stomach and move to my chest. They seems to be triggered by deep breathing, physical exertion, light and sound. The respiratory specialist I saw today had sent me for a sleep study and had many of the cramps recorded. Because they do not happen in my sleep he decided they are psychological. Unfortunately the referral he had said I had a somatiform disorder, and asked did he disagree. Anything else was too hard.

I have recently found I have fluid in the right mastoid. It is a pain I have been complaining about for months.  The ENT specialist thinks the fluid is nothing but it is not his my head that throbs. I have been feeling most unwell, going to doctors for more than 6 months and only want to feel better so I can get on with life. As I said to the respiratory guy how can part of me be something and the rest of me be psychological. It doesn't make sense.

I was put on B12/folate after a live blood test showed macrocytes. I am having the B12/folate levels checked currently. I eat well and take lots of supplements.

I had a nerve function test clear me of motor neurone disease, and was cleared of epilepsy. I do have lots of other neurological symptoms like tingling, like a numbness that feels like I have been to the dentist and the needle has half worn off, sometimes I have difficulty walking, my legs glue to the floor.I am often dropping things. My hands seem to flick.The breathing problem is by far my biggest and stopping me all the time because if I am not cramping I just feel puffed. I hope there is someone else like me who can shed some light on my problems


The Yog Pranayam (breathing exercises) will  help you relax and also help with the breathing difficulties.You will notice benefits in days, and keep a  note of how you feel each day.
Initially do kapalbhati and anulom vilom, and then when your breathing improves, do all the the pranayams in order, as described. Come back to report your progress, so others can benefit.
Build up your timing gradually. If you feel tired or dizzy, stop and resume after 1 minute.

Bhastrika - Take a long deep breath into the lungs(chest not tummy) via the nose and then completely breathe out through the nose. Duration upto 5 minutes.
For 30 seconds, while doing bhastrika, also raise both your hands above your shoulders when breathing in and then bring your hands down quickly(like a weight lifting movement) when breathing out.

Kapalbhati -(Do it before eating) Push air forcefully out through the nose about once per second. Stomach will itself go in(contract in). The breathing in(through the nose) will happen automatically. Establish a rhythm and hold your head steady. Not for pregnant women. Seriously ill people do it gently.
Age over 15 years -do this for 20 to 30  minutes twice a day.
Age under 15 years -do this for 5 to 10  minutes twice a day.

Anulom Vilom –
Close your right nostril with thumb and deep breath-in through left nostril  
then – close left nostril with two fingers and breath-out through right nostril  
then -keeping the left nostril closed  deep breath-in through right nostril
then - close your right nostril with thumb and breath-out through left nostril.
This is one cycle of anulom vilom.
Age over 15 years -Repeat this cycle for 20 to 30  minutes twice a day.
Age under 15 years -Repeat this cycle for 5 to 10  minutes twice a day.
You can do this before breakfast/lunch/dinner or before bedtime or in bed.Remember to take deep long breaths into the lungs.You can do this while sitting on floor or chair or lying in bed.

Bhramri Pranayam -Close eyes. Close ears with thumb, index finger on forehead, and rest three fingers on base of nose touching eyes. Breathe in through nose. And now breathe out through nose while humming like a bee.
Duration : 5 to 12  times

Once you are better, continue the pranayam once a day.
Be patient, as the benefits will show up gradually.Only by doing you will benefit
and feel good because you are helping your body.Those who say I have tried everything....
will be amazed at the result of doing pranayam.
Thank you I will give it a try,
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