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Breathing/tight chest nightmare
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Breathing/tight chest nightmare

Please help me! I am 28 and a non-smoker and excercise quite regualarly. For the last month and a half I have suffered a tight chest and breathing problems, I feel like I am making a conscious effort to breathe all the time and when i do it is uncomfortable and sometimes my lungs feel sore. My sleeping has also been disturbed and I have had three weeks off work sick. Although I am back at work I struggle as soon as I talk to people at length or sit in meetings as the sensation gets worse and my chest feels so tight and I struggle to breathe. I am supposed to be starting a new job at the end of the month but think I will have to give it up if the situation remains the same. I have been to the doctors three times and they say I have/had a viral chest infection of the upper tract. I hardly cough and when they sounded my chest they said it was totally clear. My peak flow is also normal apparently.

For the past eight years I have had this condition mildly (firstly after a bacterial chest infection) but mainly after little sleep or the next day after drinking a lot of alcohol so it has not affected my life too much. From past visits to my GP I have been given inhalers (preventers and relievers) which seem to do nothing, in fact the reliever made me feel worse. At the moment they have given me a becotide inhaler. I feel like stopping using it as I am not getting any better. Hope you can help.

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251132_tn?1198082422
It is not clear what is going on from your description.  There are several possible causes to these symptoms.  It is possible this is from the upper airways, most likely the sinuses.  A sinus CT scan can make or rule out this diagnosis.  If your problems are coming from the lower airways, a peak flow meter will not be able to make any diagnosis related to the smaller airways.  You will need a pulmonary function test to measure the flow of air in the smaller airways.  As this is a continued problem, I would suggest seeing a lung specialist to further evaluate the possible causes of the problem.
17 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I dont' have the problems you do with sitting and talking with others in regards to trying to breath...but I can certainly relate to inhalers and things making me feel worse as well.
About a year or 2 ago...I came down with bronchitus (bronchitis) and I've never gotten over the cough. Every time someone gets a cold..I get the nasty chest cold all over again. Not only does it send me in to major panic attacks cause I can't breathe normally...but when I use the inhalers, my lungs feel worse.
I used a treatment about an hour ago and sure I can breathe, but I don't feel as if my lungs are filling up with FULL air if that makes sence. My lungs also feel as if I ran outside in the snow we have for an hour...they hurt.
So...I can relate sorta to how your feeling. Having a consiouse for breathing 24/7 is no way to live. It's crazy in fact.
I almost wonder if I don't have something like Emphazema(sp) or something to that nature, instead of just bronchitus (bronchitis)/Asthma like the doctors say.
I just wanted to let you knwo that you are not alone. IF you ever need to talk, please feel free to email me.
***@****
Take care of yourself. Don't stop till you get an answer!
Any suggestions you have for me to perhaps releave myself of worrying that I'm going to STOP breathing, please...let me know and I'll do the same.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for this. I dont think my problem has anything to do with sinuses as there is no pain or blockage here at all and no runny nose etc. The tightness and problem is very much around my chest. Do you think that the reason it is worse in public could be anxiety. I have read a lot about this but dont want to subconciously 'fit' my symptoms to a problem....
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Clares,
I have been down that whole already in regards to anxiety disorder... I am having the same symptoms as you. For me the Dr. did check my HCL values, x-rayed my lungs and examined my heart big time. All negative, which is great. However, I have the same symptoms as you do and it is funny to read that with less sleep or too much alcohol (hangover) the symptoms get worse. I fell like in a constant anxiety attack mode and get dizzy very often. I tried some medicine against anxiety disorder... but believe me it wasn't it. I do have some accompanying heartburn and for some time I thought it is releated to that. It actually can. But you did not state that as an issue.
I did a CT scan (but not a Sinus CT Scan I guess). I am going to do a MRI next week. So far there was not a positive diagnose. I am doing everything I can to figure out what it is.

I am somewhat glad that I found somebody (finally) who describes the same symtoms (symptoms) as I have. The tigheness in my chest and the dizziness is just unbearable and my work is effected big time... also my private life as you can imagine.

I am going through additionl tests. I will keep you posted if there is something which may help.

Vino 21
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Avatar_m_tn
Dear Clares,

I am no medical expert, but I have suffered similar symptoms.

Two years ago I had a period of having asthma-like breathing attacks. The inhalers did not help. Eventually the attacks subsided and I was left with an undiagnosed chest tightness/ mucous/ mild cough. At times I couldn't fully catch my breath. Especially after meals/ beer.

In recent weeks I've had anxiety disorder (both emotional and physical) - my breathing was bad over Xmas and I had upper gastric/thoracic spasm.

I now wholeheartedly believe that my breathing problems (which also effect the pitch/tone of my speech) are linked to anxiety and muscle tension. I have good peak flow, so it is unlikely to be asthma. I doubt whether it is post nasal drip or GERD - very unlikely. I simply feel when I get stressed and anxious I get a tightening in the chest (lungs)with associated mucous and cough.

I am now taking Buspar to help me relax and hope that the chest tightness will diminish, with my anxiety.

It would be nice to here how you are now and what your conclusions about your breathing presently are....e-mail address is ***@****

Regards,

Andy
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Avatar_n_tn
hi all,

i'm 39, reasonably fit, i'm not overweight, i eat well BUT i also have a similiar problem to some of you.

i get a real heavy feeling in my chest with a feeling like i constantly need to take a deep breath but can't seem to fill my lungs up............which makes it more of a need to catch a deep beath.....but can't.

i hope you get the picture.

someone mentioned it gets worse after alcohol and little sleep and that's EXACTLY when mine gets worse.
i've had this on & off for years & it started again the other day after a night of many beers. (which is NOT  a regular thing)

i thought it may have been anxiety but i get no heart palpitations, sweating and other anxiety symptoms. i get it more at home and at night which interupts my sleep patterns as it gets worse when i lie down even if i lay back in a recliner.

i've had a chest x-ray which was clear, peak flow was excellent, lung function test (pulminary) & spit test also showed no sign of anything to worry about.

this is so frustrating and i wish someone would just say "oh that, all you need to do is..............." and come up with the magical answer for me.

anyone who can shed any light on this would be much appreciated.
here's my email. ***@****

Rich


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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, I'm new to this group but I thought this bit might help someone.  I have had a problem with voice (throat clearing) and voice change as well as proper breathing for around 10 yrs. I've been to every kind of Dr. but no help.  Oh bye the way I also have multiple sclerosis (MS).  Anyway my neurologist had me do a recent MRI and it did show I have new lesions on my spinal cord that could corolate with the pulminary organs.  So off to a pulminoligist.  He did x-rays, blood work, ct-scans, ekg, and finally a bronchoscopy.  He found that I have a totally paralized diaphragm in the left lung.  This, of course, is what causes a lot of my problems and it is a result of MS. I ask how I would know if the other one became paralized and he said I would not be able to lie down and breath.  Not to say that any one of you have MS, but you could have a paralized diaphgram caused from something else or as my doc. says it may have happened without any know cause.  Just thought you might like to check on this.  Hope these few words help someone.  Let me hear from you if you would like to talk.  e-mail  ***@****
Please identify yourself as Med-help in the subject.  I don't open just any mail, if you know what I mean.  Thanks
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi there, Clare here again, its been really positive to read all your comments. I still have my problem but I think it is a bit better. Left work a week ago but am supposed to be working abroad soon but don't think I will if this keeps up. I now think it is probably linked to anxiety and shallow breathing. I always breathe from my chest and not my diapragm. have been trying breathing excercises (breathing from belly rather than chest but they are hard and I just want to take a big gasp after I have done a few. Its always worse when I talk to people - the tension builds up and I feel I am going to burst. I am not drinking much now as I fear the consequences in the morning (exagerated syptons) who was it Andy? that said they get worse after alcohol - you are the first person I have found that agrees on this.

Have been trying acupuncture and aromatherapy but find it hard to relax my breathing to relax!!

Please anyone if you have found any ways to help this then post a comment............. I feel like life is on standby!!!!!!! and I want to get back out there!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
Your description of your breathing problem exactly mirrors mine,
It also gets worse when lying on my back.
My problem started after taking a sport supplement called
creatine monohydrate, I have over the recent 14 months had all
the tests lung function,ige,iga,liver,ecg and treadmill- all
negative. Recently by accident I found that by crucifying myself
on my partners exercise cycle untill I could hardly breath
every other day my breathing is steadily getting easier!
now my symptoms are at least 65% better and still improving!
Give it a go clare.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for this Turkeyneck. Ive always thought excercise helped, and my symptons actually got really bad in the winter when I had stopped cycling every other night - trouble is now I find the excercise hurts my lungs so am not doing it as much,  I am going to excercise as much as possible now. How long did it take for yout to start feeling better? Do you think you had/have anxiety?

Cheers
Clare
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello again Clares,It took me about 6 sessions on the exercise
cycle to start to feel the benefit (about 2weeks),although I must admit the current winter climate in England does not help
matters.
Regarding your anxiety issue,I do sometimes suffer this myself, It is a panic reaction to the shortness of breath you are
experiencing. I found thinking of something else immediatly
at the point of panic has helped me overcome this side of the
condition.     Turkeysneck.
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Avatar_n_tn
Wow, I feel like I'm reading about myself on some of these postings.  I'm hoping if someone reads about my problem they can give me so advice.  I had been having panic attacks weeks ago, with some bad breathing problems whic I was able to get under control immediately.  Since then, beginning approximately 9 days ago, I began getting a tightness in my right side of my chest which I only imagine is my lung.  I can't breathe full deep breaths from my diaphragm and started feeling faint.  I finally visited my doctor two days ago, took and x-ray (which supposedly came out clean) and he related the problems to my panic attacks and prescribed Klonopin (I've only taken three though...).  HOWEVER, I have been taking the med against my beliefs (they make you a zombie) and find that my symptoms are still there and are only getting worse.  Now I have a sore throat, mucus and can't breathe when I lay down.  Do you think this will get better if I keep taking the med?  What happens after they're done?  Does this feeling come back?  Does this ring like anxiety breathing disorders?  I'm stumped and now in pain.  Any help is greatly appreciated. When I exercise I do feel better, but the pain comes back shortly after....HELP!
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello Everyone,

Had a spirometry test done at chest physician which diagnosed asthma and I have been on inhalers since - ventolin and flixotide. Feeling very bad at the moment, but havent excercised for a few days which could be the reason.

Caligirl - sorry to hear you have the same symptoms as me - i suggest you see a chest physician - I think xrays only show up really serious stuff.

Turkeyneck - how are you feeling? is excercise still working, i certainly think it helps take my mind off things.

Keep posting!
Clare
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Avatar_m_tn
I have had a very minor breakthrough...

I relate my lung/chest tightness to anxiety. I also get stomach bloating, which is probably also an anxiety thing. This comes on every afternoon and makes my breathing problem alot worse. I can't catch the top of my breath, mucus puts me in a panic, etc...You know the feeling.

I thought I'd tried to sort out my bloating so I took Fybogel. I have done this each afternoon for 3 days and it has definitely helped.

The fact that some of you get increased chest tightness after a night on the booze could suggest you're bloated the following day (?)I know alcohol makes me worse and I put it down to my stomach distending, pushing against my diaphragm and lungs.

Lack of sleep always makes stress and anxiety worse.

I know it can be hard to believe, but I guess we're suffering from muscle tension in the thorax/lungs due to ambient anxiety. Any other ideas would be greatly received.

I'm just dreading the day I get a bad lung infection...
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Avatar_n_tn
The symptoms you describe sounds exactly like mine... anxiety! Starting a new job is certainly very stressful. If you find yourself focusing on your breathing throughout the day and worrying about whether or not you will lose your breath, you are definately full of anxiety and need to learn breathing techniques for relaxation. Try this 2 to 3 times a day:

Lay down flat. Close your eyes. Place your left hand on your stomach and right hand on your chest. Breath in slowly through your nose, counting to 2. Make certain only your abdomen rises and your chest remains still. Breath out slowly through your mouth, counting to 4, pressing your abdomen towards your spine as you do.

Repeat these exercises for 15-20 minutes every day.

Also, try reducing your stress load and stop worrying about everything. Think positively and let external stresses roll off your back. Don't internalize them.

Good luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
I recommend that you and everyone else check out this website:

http://www.stresscenter.com/

This course to overcoming anxiety is a lifesaver!

As for your sore throat, that sounds more like GERD. Have you been checked for acid reflux?
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,I just wanted to see if anyone would be able to help us out.
My husband has been having breathing problems since he had the flu last December. He was treated for a collapsed lung, then he was diagnosed with Paracarditis. He was given steroids and felt better but as soon as he got off them he was back to not been able to breath while lying flat on his back. He also complains that his has tightness in his chest and soreness. He says that when he eats are drinks anything it feels like he has Jello in his chest. He also complains that when he lays flat it feels that his stomach and insides go up to his chest. He went to a Cardialogist and had a heart caterization done last monday. They didn't find anything to indicate that it was his heart. He was referred to a stomach specialist that told him he could possibly have a paralized diaphram. He had a CT scan done this week and will have a Upper GI done next week. We just don't know what to think anymore. I wish we could find out what is really wrong. Hope someone out there has any information for us. Thanks
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Avatar_n_tn
A related discussion, Anyone else told about the orthopedic specialist? was started.
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Avatar_f_tn
A related discussion, ahh was started.
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Avatar_f_tn
I had the same problem. Ended up being a tight back where the rib muscles joined under the shoulder blade. I got heaps of tests. Nothing worked. A simple deep tissue massage from a trained physio allows me to surf with no worries.

Pick your physio though. Some try to use machines instead of releasing the muscles by hand.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi i'm 28 years old. I have breathing problem when i take deep breath i feel pain and also pain on my chest about 2 month. I did chest x- ray and was negative. Doc said i might have a chest infection and was given antibiotic. In few weeks the pain on my chest gone and was recovering well. The problem started again in a month later. I went back to the doc and still was told i had pneumonia infection. I took antibiotic for two weeks and the pain on my chest go but right now i'm feeling shortness of breath, tightness on my chest, and chest burn with mild cough. Can someone help me what this might be now.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi i'm 28 years old. I have breathing problem when i take deep breath i feel pain and also pain on my chest about 2 month. I did chest x- ray and was negative. Doc said i might have a chest infection and was given antibiotic. In few weeks the pain on my chest gone and was recovering well. The problem started again in a month later. I went back to the doc and still was told i had pneumonia infection. I took antibiotic for two weeks and the pain on my chest go but right now i'm feeling shortness of breath, tightness on my chest, and chest burn with mild cough. Can someone help me what this might be now.
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Avatar_f_tn
After reading some of these, I notice a lot of similarities and here are the links I have made:
-alcohol and lack of sleep both increase anxiety
-"reliever" inhalers usually elicit a "fight or flight" response and would give u a bit if an adrenaline rush, which is the last thing u need with anxiety.
-if it happens at night or at home, it's likely because there is much less distraction, and u refocus on your chest and breathing.

I'm not saying I don't think anything is wrong, it may very well be. But I have suffered from anxiety on and off for most of my life. I am looking this stuff up because I have chest tightness and feel like I can't get a deep breath. I have also been very stressed, not getting enough sleep, and had a few drinks at an Xmas party last night. Reading these posts reassured me that it's anxiety, because if I really weren't breathing properly, I would be blue or unconscious. Anywho, I'm glad to hear that your docs are testing everything to be sure, but I wonder if many of u are experiencing anxiety. Medication never helped me with mine, I had to learn how to cope better, and still do every time a new symptom comes up - dizziness, feeling faint, heart beating too fast, something in my throat, feel like I'm going to choke, chest pain, chest tightness, throat closing, brain aneurism (aneurysm), .... I'm confessing this in the hopes that it may help some of u identify the source of your symptoms, even tho I sound nuts!
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