Aa
A
A
A
Close
Anxiety Community
23k Members
266195 tn?1215314011

Tetany from panic attack???

Just had a major panic attack that involved a lot of overbreathing, my hands and nose and even my teeth started tingling and i tried breathing right but i guess it was too late, I started feeling very intense pressure in the center of my chest just above my stomach and my hands started to become drawn and i couldnt really move.  It lasted for about 20 seconds and then I was sore afterward...  I'm so scared of having another one I cant even leave my room.  This has hapened before but I called anambulance straight away because I thought it was a heart attack.  They told me it was Tetany induced by my panic, does this sound right??  Is this dangerous?  It doesent feel good at all.  I'm so frightened.  Anyone ever have this???  I feel alone...
21 Responses
366811 tn?1217426272
I'm responding to this because:

1. Your question needs an answer, so at least this response will bump it to the top and hopefully get some attention, and,

2. I'm stupid. I've heard of most words, and made up a bunch of others, but have no clue as to what tentany is all about. If I had to guess I would say it is a muscial term meaning "rhythym established in a small jazz combo by tapping quickly on a cymbal with an old shoe" or something like that.

Oh yes, and:

C. I would like to know the answer as well.

Anyone got any help for this?
Avatar universal
This is caused by hyperventilation. I haven't had it before but I know someone who did and it took quite a while (a few hours) for her to come right. Her hands went like a claw.

I want to say "try to relax" but I know that is too hard. Try not to fight a panic attack. Let it wash over you and say "do your worst".  It is good you phoned 911 the first time as now you know it there is nothing wrong with your physical health.

Good luck.
Avatar universal
this happened to me yesterday i have never been so terrified 24 hours later im still trembling good luck to you
Avatar universal
This actually happened to me last night. The ER nurse said it was due to hyperventilation. My hands started tingling, then my chest, my mouth, lips and my hands and arms contracted into this weird claw like position. After I was in the ER it went away after about 6 minutes or so, but my hands were very twitchy afterwards.
Avatar universal
I also had a tetany episode, where my fingers got all stiff.
I have had panic attacks in the past, but this occurred when I had a high fever. I guess the anxiety from the high fever caused me to hyperventilate thereby setting off the tetany.
When I got to the ER I could not move my hands nor my feet and I had tingling sensations around my face. I got injected with muscle relaxants and they took a CAT-scan of my head. My mobility came back a few minutes later. It was really scary.
Now I am battling anticipatory anxiety of this and have tingling toes and fingers now and then. Hopefully it will go away.
Avatar universal
Well unfortunately it is not uncommon in people with anxiety and it is something I have suffered with many many many times...to the point that I no longer actually fear this I just let it pass..."if you resist it will persist" doesn't sound easy and when it's happening it is very very scary. I first experienced this however long before my anxiety started ...during sex and at the time I had no clue why my hands were 'stuck' in a awkward position and my lips felt like they were almost curling up around my teeth...I have learned that is it because of the way we are breathing that causes this to happen (which explains the bedroom incident) best way to get it to go away, very conscious slow breathing from the diaphram...it helps me every single time. I have also learned over the years that you can almost feel it coming on when it is still much more mild...ie hands become funny feeling and start to want to curl into the claw again but with the breathing it has been 100% successful for me to stop it in it's tracks...may not work for everyone but it has been a life saver for me.
Avatar universal
I've had this happen to me twice. Once during an argument and the second time on an airplane. First my hands started seizing up, then my toes, and everything just started curling inward. My panic attack  kicked into full gear when I realized I was starting to slur my speech. I was absolutely terrified and thought that that was it, that I was going to die right then. Paramedics were called both times, and they said they get the same call for this sort of thing pretty much every day. They basically just talked me out of it and made me laugh, which helped me to catch deep breaths. Panic attack solved, tetany still to deal with. The first time it happened the paramedics told me to hold my breath for 10 counts. The second time it happened I was trying to do that and those paramedics told me not to. I did it anyway when they weren't looking, and it seemed to help me get "unstuck" faster. (Do not take that as medical advice!!) When people told me to "calm down" or "try and relax" that didn't help at all, nor does it help when I'm having a regular panic attack, sans-tetany. What does help is people talking about other things, asking me questions that I have to speak to answer, and realizing that the I'm-Going-To-Die thoughts ARE the panic attack. They're not real! The paramedics told me that even if you do pass out from tetany, it's not dangerous at all, and your body is just trying to reset its self. You can not die from this. The worst thing that happened to me is that I took the next two days off work because every muscle in my body hurt so bad. That wasn't so horrible, now was it?
Avatar universal
I was feeling a little off last year, and came out of the shower short of breath... I sat down because I felt like I was going to pass out, and my breathing became more and more difficult to control. I had to lay on the floor and was fighting extremely hard for every breath. That's when my hands started to curl in on themselves very tightly - it was a very uncomfortable feeling, and breathing was so hard, I could scarcely call my girlfriend and tell her to call an ambulance.  My legs started to go into a spasm and cramp then, and my head was experiencing severe pins and needles - I figured my body was shutting down due to lack of oxygen. I told my girlfriend I loved her, because I really thought my game was up. The Parisian firemen arrived to the apartment within a few minutes, and instantly said it was 'tetany' which didn't mean anything to me!

They helped me get my breathing back. I was almost naked bar my dressing gown, and it took a good while before my clawed hands could move enough so that I could get dressed and go to hospital. By midday I'd seen a doctor, had a blood test and had left, feeling quite good, but a bit shaken. Glad I know what it is, thanks to reading about it on the Internet. :) I saw a doctor a week later, and she wondered if I had anxiety induced asthma, or whether asthma had caused the anxiety which resulted in the tetany, as it's hard to diagnose between the two. Touch wood, it's more than a year on, and I've not had a repeat.
1661710 tn?1302708005
The internet sure is a great thing to have when you've had this sort of thing happen to you and do some research. This has happened to be in the past when I have gotten upset during arguments, during a massage when I start breathing intensely in response to old muscle patterns letting go, and it happened to me very severely the other day when I went to get blood drawn for some blood tests. My hands and feet curled in so badly I was convinced that my ankles and wrists were going to snap and break! I began shouting for the staff to pull apart and unfurl my hands and feet, hollering that I was going to break if they didn't. They called the paramedics, but by the time they got there it had passed. I was exhausted and sore. My daughter, who is 4, was with me and she kept asking me if I was dying. I said 'no', but the panic combined with the tetany made me wonder if indeed I would die. The last couple of days I have been very worried I might have a thyroid condition or something dreadful underlying this--but researching online and on forums such as this it seems most likely that it is a common panic-attack reaction which comes as a result of hyperventilation. Another site said when you hyperventilate, it causes your blood levels of calcium to drop and calcium;magnesium have a huge role in muscle contractions.  A fluke thing for us nervous folks, I hope, and not some lurking disease!
Avatar universal
Hi, I'm 18 and I also struggle with major panic attacks which sometimes cause me to vomit.  A few weeks ago I went to the ER for antinausea treatment (sometimes I can't stop vomiting) and on the way experienced my hands being drawn together and legs and hands tingling.  The nurse assured me it was hyperventalation induced tetany and it was not serious.  I felt terrified too.  I hope that you feel more validated; it can feel quite lonely when no one seems to understand your problems.  Fortunately,  there are always people that care!  I hope you feel less anxious. =)      
Avatar universal
I'm sorry I've come so late on the scene to respond to this question, but I hope I can help. I have had chronic Tetany since 2007, cause by  a brain tumor. However I was not properly diagnosed until 2010. I understand how frightening this can be. I was given seizure medication, but received no relief. Finally I found a neurologist who tried medication meant for anxiety. After trying one with some measure of success, we continued to tweet the meds until one resolved the Tetany unless I hypo or hyperventilation for an extreme amount of time.

My experience has been that going to the E.R. is absolutely useless. Most doctors don't even know what Tetany is and there really isn't much they can do about it except get you to relax and stay hydrated. My episodes last for about an hour and I have found that it is just best to take some Excedrin and sleep for a bit. I gets your muscles to relax and helps you breath regularly.

Most of all, if it happens again, find a neurologist who knows about Tetany and work with them. Hope things are better for you by now!
Avatar universal
This happened to me, too! I was at a wedding reception (was in the wedding party) and thought I was overheated. Went inside to get some fresh air and started breathing heavy. Tingling set in all over and my hands turned inwards and my arms locked up. Had to sit down because I felt very faint. The pain of my hands and arms was awful. When the tingling hit around my mouth, my speech became slurred and it became more and more difficult to talk. I was so scared I was having a stroke. Friends called 911 and I was carried out of the wedding reception on a stretcher. Once in the ambulance, my hands started to loosen some and by the time I got to the hospital, they had really loosened up, though I was incredibly sore. Docs told me it was a result of my potassium and calcium levels drastically dropping due to hyperventilating and that's what caused my hands and arms to lock up. I was so so scared. I never want that to happen again!
Have an Answer?
Top Anxiety Answerers
Avatar universal
Arlington, VA
370181 tn?1428180348
Arlington, WA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Find out what can trigger a panic attack – and what to do if you have one.
A guide to 10 common phobias.
Take control of tension today.
These simple pick-me-ups squash stress.
Don’t let the winter chill send your smile into deep hibernation. Try these 10 mood-boosting tips to get your happy back
Want to wake up rested and refreshed?