Undiagnosed Symptoms Community
25.3k Members
Avatar universal


I am a 24-year-old male. For the passed year and a half, I have been having extreme difficulty breathing. I’ve seen a handful of doctor’s and had so many tests that I almost can’t remember them all. The problem is, nobody can diagnose my issue!
It all started pretty suddenly one day at work. I was having a hard time breathing and couldn’t get a full breath. For about 6 months I put up with it, until it began to become intolerable. I have a very physically demanding line of work, from which I have now been away from for one entire year. Anytime I attempt to do anything physically demanding I begin to suffer. Walking down the road, cooking in the kitchen, going to the store even talking cause a ridiculous amount of suffering. It’s hard for me to take care of myself. This is no way to live. Most of my discomfort is in my Sternal / Upper Abdominal region. Always on the left between my sternum and my left side rib cage. It feels like the muscles and tissues in that region have turned to stone. When I try to take a breath, it’s like my upper abdominal muscles stay tight and do not expand preventing me from getting a full breath. I get this sensation of something being caught under my sternum. I can not lay on my back or my side because it causes me to feel like I’m suffocating. Sleeping is difficult. The only way that I can get comfortable when falling asleep is sitting up. This is constant discomfort, these are NOT episodes. I feel this way 24/7. I have been going to Physiotherapy, Acupuncture and visiting a Chiropractor. None of which seem to give me any relief. I can’t get through a conversation without feeling like I’m out of breath and getting light headed. Sometimes feeling like I’m about to faint. It even hurts to laugh. The conclusion so far is that there may be an issue with my Diaphragm Muscle. Another noteworthy fact is that I did electrocute myself before all of this began and did somewhat feel the same way I do now when that happened. Could there be some kind of issue with my muscles or nerves?
Depression and anxiety has been ruled out by more then one doctor. I’ve tried medication like, Clonazepam and Lorazepam and antidepressants. Yes! I also had visits with a therapist. They Did NOT help my breathing. I know my body well enough to know when something is wrong and personally do not believe that I am depressed or have anxiety. However, if I can’t figure out what’s wrong I might eventually get there.  Off the top of my head here are the tests that I’ve had done. I have results and images of nearly everything. I can post them, or send them to whoever would like to have a look.  
• Abdominal Ultrasound
• Holter Monitor
• Sleep Study
• ECG (3)
• Echocardiogram (2)
• Chest or Thorax MRI (Did not show heart or lungs)
• Abdominal & Pelvic CT Scan
• Head CT Scan
• Chest X-Ray (4)
• Abdominal X-Ray
• Endoscopy
• Barium Swallow
• Nuclear Lung Scan
• Exhaled Nitric Oxide Test
• Multiple Blood Tests
I’m praying that someone can steer me in the right direction. I would love to get back to my old life. Any recommendations of tests to take or specialists to visit are greatly appreciated. I don’t want to leave any stone unturned. If you took the time to read all of that, THANKYOU. If someone can tell me what is wrong or what to do I will send them $1000.
2 Responses
1756321 tn?1547095325
I have had breathing issues from magnesium deficiency, toxic mould exposure, hypothyroidism, iron deficiency anaemia. As you mention being electrocuted! you may find taking a good quality magnesium supplement may help.  

Excerpt from the article - Do You Need More Magnesium? 10 Signs to Watch For...

"3. Do you experience a lot of stress in your life, or have you recently had a major medical procedure such as surgery?

Both physical and emotional stress can be a cause of magnesium deficiency.

Stress can be a cause of magnesium deficiency, and a lack of magnesium tends to magnify the stress reaction, worsening the problem. In studies, adrenaline and cortisol, byproducts of the “fight or flight” reaction associated with stress and anxiety, were associated with decreased magnesium.

Because stressful conditions require more magnesium use by the body, all such conditions may lead to deficiency, including both psychological and physical forms of stress such as surgery, burns, and chronic disease."
Thanks for taking the time to reply. I have actually been taking magnesium. To the point where my doctor told me it was too much and to cut down.
363281 tn?1590104173
Hello~I can sure relate to your problem. For many many years, I have had that horrid shortness of breath, it feels like I can't take a satisfying one at times. I have seen numerous doctors about this, they all say the same thing, high anxiety and stress. I will say, that if I am enjoying what I am doing, then I don't notice it at all, but, let me get stressed or depressed, back it comes.

I know you don't want to hear this, but, I truly think it IS stress or anxiety related, being short of breath and having the symptoms you are having is a classic sign of it. All your tests are "normal" no doctor can help, so, that narrows it down to anxiety. Like I said, I know, I have had it and still do, and depression, etc, are the culprits.

I am surprised that the acupuncture and chiropractor didn't help, at least a little, both have helped me to a degree. Have you tried massage therapy. If you have the tight muscles, this could relax them and help open up the lungs, they are being compressed because your body is in a state of flight-or-fight, thus causing every muscle in your body to be tight.

I wish I had better answers for you, I know now frustrating this can be. I hope you get better soon.
Thanks for the reply. Very much appreciated. I however am confident that it's not anxiety. I'm not depressed and i definitely do not get anxious. I've seen more then one doctor including psychologists who have rules out anxiety and depression. If it was anxiety i wouldn't mind because then at least I could deal with it. I have tried numerous anxiety medicines, marijuana, natural and homeopathic methods, meditation and relaxation techniques. Yes i've had massages also.

I'm not depressed however, If i stay stuck this way, i'll get there.
Have an Answer?
Top General Health Answerers
363281 tn?1590104173
Nelson, New Zealand
1756321 tn?1547095325
Queensland, Australia
19694731 tn?1482849837
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
In this unique and fascinating report from Missouri Medicine, world-renowned expert Dr. Raymond Moody examines what really happens when we almost die.
Think a loved one may be experiencing hearing loss? Here are five warning signs to watch for.
When it comes to your health, timing is everything
We’ve got a crash course on metabolism basics.
Learn what you can do to avoid ski injury and other common winter sports injury.
Here are the pros and cons of the top fad diets and weight loss plans of the year.