Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > Asthma Forum

Can't Take a Deep Breath (Page 14)

January 19th, 2009
2 Months in Hell
So for the last two and a half months I have had this problem of not being able to take a full deep breath. It's caused me to be more of an anxious person than I already am. I have suffered from severe anxiety most of my life but NOTHING has ever felt like this. This FEELS physical and comes on without me even thinking about anything. I have had to fight several doctors who smirked at me and told me I was just anxious, I have also had to fight with friends and family who wrote it off as the same. Then I went to a third doctor who had me do a pulmonary test and it turned out to be 200 lower than it should be. She advised I take Qvar twice a day and suspected I was having allergies from mold because I lived in a room in a garage. I have switched rooms and have been doing what she asked but I still feel the same, except that I am a little more comfortable. NOW my ROOM MATE is feeling the same way. She is also having problems taking a full deep breath. We have two other room mates and they have not noticed anything. Could it be that both of us are more sensitive than the others if there is some kind of growth? The others also happen to be male who smoke a lot. The one who has the problem and I, do not smoke at all.
Also, a little bit of background on me. I am a singer and I sing opera, therefore I have had a lot of training on how to use my diaphragm to breathe.
Some other things to note: I did have severe acid reflux and thought it had something to do with that. I went as far as to get an xray to see if there was some sort of build up in my esophagus but it just showed normal acid reflux and nothing more.
Also, the first night that I started to feel badly, I had rapid heart beat, chills, and sweats. After that I occasionally would have this overall throbbing sensation. My body would pulsate to my heart beat. It's a strange feeling. It doesn't hurt. It's just uncomfortable and doesn't go away until I rest.
Still, the remaining symptom is always the issue of breathing. I am going to a therapist to see if that would help and I am going to try to do some yoga and massage therapy to see if it's nerves. As a result of all of this I have become very depressed from feeling helpless. But like I said, we know our bodies more than anybody else and this just doesn't FEEL like a psychological problem.
Good luck to everyone. It is comforting to know that others suffer with the same thing...
but it is also horrible to know that other people have to live like this. We will get better. We have to keep fighting to find an answer.
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replied January 22nd, 2009
Hey, just read these posts, and like so many of you, i feel so much better!! Thought it was just me la la la. Bit annoying that there doesn't seem to be an answer though!

Been thinking, could be an idea if we had somewhere, where we could discus this in an easier way! Found it hard reading through each page, and trying to find people who said they would say how they got on after various treatments! Some sort of forum or something?

If anyone sees this soon, and if you think it could bea good idea, then i could sort something out?
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replied February 7th, 2009
How I found relief
After reading all the posts, I think there may be different causes but I will share what mine was and what I did about it.

I had the exact same symptoms as everyone else with the not being able to always get a satisfying breath. After a lot of frustration I figured out mine was caused by a medication I was taking - Wellbutrin. It wasn't specifically the Wellbutrin but rather a side effect of it - the fact that it made me uptight and anxious. Eventhough I didnt feel overly anxious I think it was causing me to hold extra tension in my back, chest, etc. Basically all the muscles involved in breathing. I had tried virtually everything I could think of; TENS units, physical therapy, massage, accupuncture, to the doctor for xrays, breathing tests, etc. and it didnt get better until I stopped the medication.

I know everyone posting here isn't taking Wellbutrin but Well butrin or not, mine was from muscle tension I didnt know I had. Once I stopped the medication what really cleared it up for me was (in this order) the chiropractor and accupuncture. You may have to go several times to each to get some relief and if your not finding any dont be afraid to switch practicioners - I think there can be a big difference in chiropractor and accupuncturists abilities.

A few other things I found helped:

- Don't try to get a deep breath. When you feel like you need to get that really deep breath, fight the urge and just breathe normally.

- Try to not think about it. Easier said than done I know, but I found mine would get a lot worse the more I focused on not being able to get that deep breath.

It seems like in almost every post here people are focusing on medical problems but medical tests and drugs are not offering any relief for anyone posting here. I know many of you have said it doesnt feel psychological or like anxiety but I really think its from carrying extra tension we may not even be aware of. So its not as simple as getting some therapy and expecting it to go away or taking some anxiety medicine and expecting it to go away. I think they are 2 separate causes that feed into each other and you have to address both. Figure out what is causing you to hold extra tension in your back, chest, diaphragm, etc. Then do something to break up that tension like chiropractic adjustments, accupuncture, massage, etc.

I know this post was really long but if I can help even one person who was feeling the amount of frustration I was feeling about this my mission would be accomplished.
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replied February 10th, 2009
same thing... help!
i have the SAME thing you describe.... i can't take a deep breath. I have asthma, but have not had real problems since i was a kid. Sometimes i have problems when i exercise, but i get THIS tight chest thing any time... as in i could be sitting, watching TV and not stressed. it feels different than asthma, as in no wheezing, and my inhaler doesnt really work. I sometimes get relief when i yawn and a breath goes in deep, but i can't really "make myself" breath like that. it feels like a can breath to a point, and then i just hit a wall, and my lungs can't expand anymore. Nothng has changed in my life allergy wise. I dont know what it is or what to do. Has anyone figured out what this is/ what did you do for it??? THANK YOU!
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replied February 12th, 2009
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replied February 12th, 2009
Make a try, if this works
Welcome All,

The Yawn and Deep Breath (YDB) seems to be a new issue and nothing to worry, simple exercises makes it recover better. This is exactly i experienced a week before.

All techniques like Meditation, Buteyko method and Pranayama are very good to bring YDB to zero. AS per my personal experience medication does not solve the cause at all. Get guidance with Wikipedia for best understanding of these methods.

Steam inhaler (Vicks Vapourup) also exercises the breathe in/out process, so it could be practiced for a good relief.

I signify Yawn and Deep Breath (YDB) is a cause of mental stress or depression or anxiety. Actually this issue relies on two things i.e. 'think and feel between mind and heart', which must be well synchronized. i.e.

1. One should not think much of a pain that is less happening and troublesome, forget and forgive easily.

2. Should deliver a normal breathe in/breathe out at regular intervals of time, a normal process which we may forget because of pressure.

3. This simple say could help "take inputs to your mind and body the amount it can digest and omit the rest".

4. Forget difficulties and unfortunate happenings. Even forget YDB and continue your work, it works better.

5. While at stress relax for some time, i.e. stop and continue the work again.

6. Try to engage yourself in enjoyable work for the entire day, when awake. Hope sleep
does not disturb you.

7. Laugh wholly, that makes you less tiresome and more healthy!.

8. Spend more time in the garden and in sea-shore daily, for fresh air to replenish.

9. Drink warm water in all season that soothes the internal system.

10. Take a short walk, jog, simple physical game that results with sweat helps better.

Get relieved completely soooon!!!!.
Life is short, Enjoy with hale.
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replied February 17th, 2009
I dont know?
Im 12 years old and have been having trouble breathing. Since i was 10 yrs old i had trouble breathing and my asthma came up negative but they said i had asthma anyway. Now that im 12 around this time i have trouble breathing but now i put everything like medecines,preventives and nebulizers but it doesnt get better so i went to the doctors but before i had it i had gone to the schools nurse office and she said i had a tight chest so i told the doctor but she didnt seem to believe me so i dont know what i have but i cant take a deep breath and the asthma came up negative and everything so please try to help im desperate and so is my family!
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replied February 18th, 2009
Stress-related I think
Hi everyone,
I can't believe this thread has been going for four years and we're still no closer to discovering a solution for this awful problem!

I'm a 32-year-old male and have been living with this for about two years now, but previously also had it for a similar length of time as a teenager.
I get an urge to take a deep breath quite regularly, some days more frequently than others. I almost always manage to take the deep breath, but when I can't (usually at night), I start to panic and I have to make myself sneeze by sticking something up my nose - which forces my body to sneeze and thus take the breath. Crazy, I know, but I figure we're baring all here!!!

I'm convinced it's related to stress. The very first time I experienced it, I was 15 and was getting ready to go to bed on a Sunday night when I had a weird panicky feeling about nothing in particular. It wasn't about breathing, but that's what it eventually became. After two or three years of occasional panic attacks brought on by not being able to take a deep breath, it went away when I moved away from home to go to university.
It didn't come back until i was 30, when I was going through a particularly stressful experience.

The problem is much worse the day after I've been drinking - and the more I drink the worse the problem is. No idea if this is relevant to anyone else, but I thought I'd mention it anyway.

I'm currently waiting to hear from a respiratory specialist at my local hospital for an appointment, but from everything I've read on this thread I'm not optimistic that I'll find the answer I'm looking for!!
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replied March 8th, 2009
help on inability to take deep breath
if you cannot take a deep breath, or there's upper chest tightness, it is esophagus-related. Drink "plain" and ONLY plain water (juices, soda won't work) if feeling "upper" chest tightness when breathing in. Again this is esophagus-related and not lungs or anything

Hope this helps, let me know guys.
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replied March 25th, 2009
I have the same problem with breathing it feels allmost like a tickly feeling in the chest and you just want to take a deep breath but when you do you just dont feel satisfied and its really enoying. i think it gets to you most when you think about it if u try not to think about it makes it better.
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replied March 28th, 2009
Full volume breathing excercises
I have been told by moderators that I am not able to supply the links to free excercises .

So google these words "pectus excavatum excercises".

There are free pdf's on excercises that pectus excavatum users are using to treat the lack of full volume breathing. It works for people without pectus excavatum though in helping posture & full volume breathing.

Many of us now work or spend leisure hours hunched over at the computer, leading to bad posture & bad breathing. Try the excercises out. They are free & could save you hundreds in specialists costs.
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replied April 16th, 2009
I'm glad to have found this
I too have been suffering this mysterious condition for about 15 years now. I'm 33 yrs. old and it's comes and goes throughout the year. I never know when it will happen. I thought is was allergies, so I went to an allergist and got tested, I was positive for many allergies but have been getting shots and the breathing issue is still there. No changes whatsoever. So, that obviously wasn't it. I also have to yawn a lot when this is going on, it seems to help me "get over the hill", if you will, and then I get a good breath and relax. But a few minutes later, I'm back at it again, Struggling with the same problem over and over. Then, one day, it's magically gone for usually months at a time and then back again. It's so strange that no one knows what it is.
I have a cardiologist friend that wanted to take me "through all of the ropes" to eliminate any heart issues. Nothing there. Now, after another breathing spell (it's been about 6 months since my last one) I called my allergist (because the breathing issue DRIVES ME CRAZY) and said, get me in and try something else. Wat else could it be? So, I did the Methacholine Challenge test. My lung function is fabulous! Above what is normal even. Darn. Now what? So, I got home after my appointment with him and tried to Google the "negative with asthma but can't get a deep breath) and here you were. Actually, there are millions of people with the same thing!!! I am so relieved!!! Ahhh.... finally, I can say to my doctor, "see, I'm not creating this issue on my own and I'm not the only one with this. I can't attribute it to stress or anxiety or anything else that I've read about so far. Have you found any other way to treat it or any additional information about this? I'm just diving into it now so I am interested in what I might find. Thank you so much for writing about this! I feel so much better that I'm not alone in this. Any new information would be very helpful!
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replied April 17th, 2009
What can I do or say?
Hi Guys
I'm writing this because my Husband has had simular problems to you guys on and off now since he was 18 but it has got worse the past year and he has had it constnatly every day all day.

He needs to takes deep breaths all the time and is conscious of his breathing. He finds it completely disabling. He cant find anything that will tke his mind off of it anymore and he has now been out of work for nearly years because he can't cope.

It interferes with his sleeping and his body clock is constantly changing because he cant sleep at night.

He says its never ending and he can see no end to it and although I try to be positive reading these posts makes me a little worried too. He's been suicidal now for about 6 months. He says he just cant put up with his for the next 50 years.

His doctor just says its stressed and because he's depressed sent him to a therapist. The troubl is the therapist doesn't seem to grasp the fact that the breathing problem is tehh cause of the depression not an effect so she is trying to get him to drag up childhood experiences to solve the problem.

He's scared to take meds because of all of the horror stories on the net and the side effects although atm ithink that these side effects would probably be better than putting up with the breathing.

I try to be compassionate and I do have problems simular but they are much more trivial and more annoying than anything else.

It's got to the stage now where he thinks that everything might be a cause. He stops drinking drinks or eating things he likes in case they are causing thm and I can't get him out of the house. He says he is 25 and his life is passing befor his eyes and theres nothing he can do. He cant hold down a job or a college course.

I am pregnant and expecting in November and I'm worried he wont cope and as he requires my attention most of the day that he will go over the edge anytime soon. What can I do for him or say to him. I just wish I could take it away.

Please help if you can
Gemma x
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replied May 2nd, 2009
restricted breathing
Hi, I am a 34yr old mother and my symptoms first started during my flight back from abroad 4 months ago. About 2 hours after take-off, i was finding it extremely difficult to breath, i had to use all my effort to breath in and out. Although i am an asthmatic, it did not feel like an asthma attack and i wasn,t wheezy at all. After landing my symptoms eased a little but did not go away completely. My GP gave me a different inhaler which didn't help. Within 3 weeks my symptoms started to get bad again. I wasn't able to breathe in and out as deeply as i was able to before. It felt as if my lungs wern't able to take in as much air as it was able to do before. At times my chest feels irritated and inflammed even when there's no wheeziness or shortness of breath. Any light activities causes me to be short of breath. At times even when i am resting i feel short of breath. I have been refered to a chest speacialist who has done chest x-rays, C-T scan, ECG, blood tests and lung function test but was unable to find a cause for my symptoms. At the moment i am taking serevent and seretide inhalers which has helped with my slight wheezyness but nothing is helping my restricted breathing. When my symptoms are very bad it feels like the inside of my chest is very heavy and dragging downwards. Standing or walking for a little while makes it worser. I am very concerned. Does anyone know what this can be?
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replied May 7th, 2009
Can't take a FULL breath.
I am 29 years old and for the past 5 years I have not been able to take a full breath.

Let me explain what I am feeling. I attempt to breath deep and can fill up my diaphragm but as soon as it goes to the chest it just STOPS. I cannot seem to fill up my lungs at all. Let's just put it this way - either way I try to breathe, I can't. Through the mouth, the nose, whatever, nope can't seem to take that full breath except for when I... YAWN. Which is not often. When I yawn it seems as if I get a taste of what it's like to be able to breathe normally. It's rather cruel but has kept me sane all these years.

Here is everything I've done up until this point to try and figure out what the heck is going on:

X-Ray of the Lungs. They said I have big healthy lungs. I did this X-ray twice on two separate occasions just to make sure.

Oxygen level? 100%

Test for Asthma? Negative. They even gave me an inhaler just in case, can you guess what happened? Nothing.

Anxiety? Nope.

EKG. Heart is fine.

Echocardiogram. Heart is STRONG and HEALTHY.

CT scan of the CHEST WALL. Nothing wrong there. (Did I mention I even went to see a sports doctor? ugh.)

Physical Therapy for awhile. Still can't breathe.

ACUPUNCTURE! Nope, didn't work.

Diet and exercise? Yes. I am 5'10" - 175lbs. I eat fruits, vegetables everyday, and try to eat 6 small meals a day versus your average 3. I work out using the P90x program and it has done wonders for me. But I still can't breathe properly.

So what is it? Stress? No. I feel relaxed, especially since I do Yoga and meditate on a regular basis. Which is a little frustrating because it's very hard to meditate properly when you cannot take a full deep breath. : (

After reading some of these responses and concerns, there is something that I have not brought up to a doctor, which is the build up of mucus in my throat. No matter what over the counter medications I take for breaking up the mucus it doesn't seem to help.

Could this be esophagus related?
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replied May 15th, 2009
yeyy :) I'm not alone
i'm 23 now, i used to sometimes feel i couldn't get a deep breath when i was younger, especially while swimming.. but it never really bothered me that much until recently, about 3 weeks ago.. i started getting these episodes a few times a day, especially at night, where i feel my throat tighten up like someone's strangling me, and then can't take a deep breath anymore or yawn.. lasts about 15 minutes then it either clears or i get carried away with something else. other than feeling like i need to yawn, it sometimes feels like i need to burp. my doctor thinks it could be acid reflux, he sais to try not to eat or drink anything past 7,8, so that by the time i'm in bed, my stomach's empty. I havent been able to do that yet, i usually eat around 10,11. Another weird symptom i've had since i was younger, is a strange sharp chest pain that happens suddenly when taking a deep breath, that disappears alone after a few seconds and feels kind of like a litte bubble, that pops. i don't know if that's related, but i thought i'd throw that out there just in case. I'm also a generally anxious person, a little paranoid when it comes to my health, and although i wouldn't say i'm usually stressed psychologically or mentally, i do sometimes feel really stressed out physically for no real reason. Feels good to know i'm not alone in this, not that i would wish this on anyone Smile
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replied May 15th, 2009
N.B. As a reply to WaitingtoInhale, I also noticed that it's usually accompanied by excess mucus in the throat.
I was also looking up some things about acid reflux (or GERD), and apparently there's a type of reflux where you don't often get heartburn, it's called silent reflux, or laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR). Could be.. need to do some more research
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replied May 19th, 2009
after reading all the posts i could get my hands on these are all the possibilities that i have come up with:
- anxiety
- chronic hyperventilation syndrom
- acid reflux (GERD/LPR)
- hiatal hernia
- Sulfite sensitivity
- magnesium deficiency
- b12 deficiency
- estrogen dominance (for women)
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland)

personnaly i feel like it's a hiatal hernia
look it up it's pretty interesting
(useful site: )
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replied May 22nd, 2009
Re: Shortness of Breath
tigerswede wrote:
I have the same problem. I feel like I can't take in a deep breath and be satisfied. I went to many doctors. They said they can't find anything wrong with me. One said my throat will spasm and close, and that's why I feel short of breath, but I don't feel that my airway is blocked. I am in the same boat that you are.

Have you considered helminthic therapy? It worked for me.
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replied May 28th, 2009
Hiatal Hernia!!
Just like everyone else, I have the same exact symptoms. I'm 30 and I've had those symptoms since I was 9. I was diagnosed with asthma but the inhalers don't work. Anyway, I was told a few years ago that I had a hiatal hernia, but that there were no problems with it. I was told to just ignore it because it will never cause any problems. Well, I checked out that website two posters before me suggested and I truly do believe that I have every single one of those symptoms. I am going to my pulmonologist in a few weeks and I am taking a printout from that website with me. Such a relief!
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