Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > Asthma Forum

Can't Take a Deep Breath (Page 3)


January 12th, 2006
Wow what a comfort it is to know i'm not alone. I was doing a search tonight to see if I could find some information and ended up here. Many of you described the feelings better than I could. I noticed this problem several years ago (37 now) and it would pass within a day. Frustrating but I knew it would be short lived. 3-4 days ago I got the feeling again and when it didn't go away the next day started to worry. 1 day was bad enough, this is the pits. For me it seems to be every few breaths to a few minutes. I started wanting to take a deep breath. Sometimes it takes a few tries before I can take the breath. Doing so though never satisfies me and the cycle continues. Not sure what triggers it. Stress could be. Last few days have been very stressful. I can still excercise (treadmill) just fine but when i'm sitting around it gets worse. I'm still aware of it while excercizing but it doesn't seem as bad. Also I can't get a decient yawn.
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replied January 13th, 2006
The only time I have experienced not being able to take a deep breath and "feel satisfied" is when i've been running long distance, like in a "fun run", say 10 - 14kms. Also swimming, when i'm worn out.

Its wierd, because its at a time when you *need* to have that deep breath, but your body won't let you take it for some reason.

This has always passed quickly for me however and i've been able to take that deep breath several minutes later.

I am not an asthma sufferer by the way.

Cheers,
nathan.
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replied January 14th, 2006
I Have a Hard Time Breathing
Im glad I found this site. I have had this breathing problem for 5 years now. It would come and go. Then last feb it started and has not went away. I cant do anything without it getting hard to breath. It takes me like 10 minutes to get up a set of 6 stairs. It also happens when I take a shower, when im drying off, when I make my bed , and when I walk . I cant get a good breath. It feels like the air is not going all the way in my lungs. I have a tight feeling all the way down into my stomach. If I exert myself its like all of the sudden I cant breath. I dont have a cough or weezing. I have had all kinds of test on lungs and heart. Everything is fine. My lung doctor says I should be able to run a marathon with my lungs. There is one thing that also happens to me that no one else seems to have a problem with. When I eat I seem to get this over full feeling and it causes me not to be able to get a breath. I also feel pressure on my rib cage when I try to breath.
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replied January 15th, 2006
Experienced User
Your throat does not need to expand to breathe. As someone said earlier, your breath should come from your diaphragm moving in and out, pushing the air out of your lungs. The upper part of your chest should not move very much when you breathe.

You can practice by lying on the floor and holding your hands on your belly. Your belly should expalnd when you inhale

i have asthma, but I also have voice training. I do not take any medication. I find that the best way to improve breathing is by doing abdominal exercises.
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replied January 17th, 2006
Question For Hannahjune And Answer to Des240
Hey hannahjune and whomoever else this may apply to.
I saw your post where the doctor had you taking medicine at night for what he perceived as panic disorder. Was this due to the fact that you would wake up at night with "night terrors" or something similar? I have posted on here before that I suffer from the same symptoms as everyone else, and it seemed to be the worst at night. I found that the breathing problems would get really bad and when I fell asleep I would wake up disoriented, dizzy and hallucinating. The doctors didn't really know what ot make of it, they sent me to be checked for a hiatal hernia, but that came back negative. What I have found to work for me is positioning. If I lay on my back or left side I will have a horrible night. I wake up gasping for air and hallucinate and all that. If I lay on my right side im pretty much good to go. I may still have minor breathing problems, but nothing that can't be delt with. Give it a try if you get a chance, I had to try a different side each night until I found out what worked for me. It's been working for about a year now. Hasn't solved the general breathing problem during the day, but at least I can get good sleep now.

In answer to des240, I do have pets, 3 dogs 2 cats and a miniature pig. The cats and pig are outside animals (the pig will walk through the living room about once a week) but the dogs come in almost every night. We live in the middle of the woods, very rural. I've also wondered about our water. We are on a community well, we don't have a softener or any kind of filter. The problems started about 8 months after we moved into our current home.
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replied January 17th, 2006
Breathing
I have had this breathing problem for 25 years. I had it under control by not thinking about it. Finally I was complete! Breathing became normal again. Now, my 7 yr old son has it. I feel so bad for him. I really do not know what to tell him except to not think about the breathing. Whenever he starts to experience it, I feel the problem coming back to me. Also my 5 yr old is showing signs of struggling to catch that satisfying breath. Even as i'm typing this, I feel myself trying to catch that complete breath. For me it's controllable, how do I convince a 7 yr to relax? It's good to see i'm not alone.
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replied January 17th, 2006
Cant Breath Well
I have this problem where I cant breath that well its is very annoying and I sit with my mouth open for servel mins. I am not sure why it happens or how it starts but if you can help me out to figure out what is wrong that would be so helpful thanks
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replied January 28th, 2006
Hi, I Sure Am Glad to Meet You All!
I never got over my fear of not being able to get that satisfying eep breath, but I want you all to know that i've had it since I was 20 and i'm now 60 and it hasn't killed me yet! I am a very phobic person; this is not the only phobia I have. I've been under psychiatic care since I was 20; I am a very frightened person; always obssessed with thoughts of death and i'm terrified of dying! I'd love to talk to people who are not afraid of death. Actually, my biggest fear is that of suffocation; I do not want to die but as I said i'm 60 so i'd like to come to terms with it someday. Best of luck to all of you; I can identify with nearly each and every onf of you. For 40 years i've lived with struggling to get a deep breath; sometimes it's easy and sometimes it's almost impossible. Any advce? Love to you all!
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replied February 1st, 2006
Hi again,

I had a real bad episode of this breathing obsession after xmas, it got so bad that I went to the gp again, this time he ordered a lot of tests. I had blood tests, urine test, xray and ecg. Everything came back normal with the exception of a little bit too much iron in my blood. Doc thinks that I may be eating too much red meat. I've quit smoking a couple of month ago which may have brought on a slight depression. Also i've been coughing heaps since quiting smoking which is bringing on a lot of anxiety about the health of my lungs, even if the doctor says that there is nothing wrong with me. Funny thing is that the obsessive breathing issues have since subsided considerably. I'm now obsessing over coughing though. It is just really hard to convince oneself that there is nothing wrong.
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replied February 2nd, 2006
Well, I jumped the gun and went for a spirometry.

Suprisingly my results were above average. My lung age came back as less then 20 years old. I think finally I can rest easy.
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replied February 3rd, 2006
I've had this problem for years and am going through a particularly bad spell of it. It used to get worse around my period, and since menopause (i'm 54) i've had it more often than not.

I too went for spirometry a couple of years ago and after about the 4th test the technician said, "get outa here!" -- my results were off the charts good. There's a lot more to say, but i'm glad I found this thread!
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replied February 28th, 2006
Can't Take a Deep Breath
I didn't realize there were so many people experiencing the same thing I have been for about the past two years. All the same symptoms that I have read......Not being able to get a good deep breath, yawning a lot with no relief, finding a good sleeping position so that I can breath deeply.
Because of my past experience with anxiety/panic attacks, I do believe that it is stress related, even though I don't feel stressed out and am not taking any kind of anxiety medication and haven't for about 2 and a half years. When I took myself off of ativan I started taking a bcomplex vitamin daily because of the affects I heard it would have on anxiety sufferers. It seems to work, whether or not it's in my head I don't know. But I would much rather take it than the ativan. Anyway, it has been reassuring to find this site, to know that it's not just me and it's not just in my head. The only difference I have noticed from most of the comments is that I feel more out of breath when I eat.
Thank you for posting your comments, I really appreciated reading them.
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replied March 2nd, 2006
Re: Can't Take a Deep Breath
Thank god for google. I've been having this problem for a few months, but only just today thought of typing "can't take a deep breath" into google. I wound up here. I'm so glad that i'm not a) alone, b) crazy c) on my deathbed unknowingly.

I have all the same symptoms as others here- inability to take a deep, satisfying breath, difficulty yawning, having to sleep on my right side. I went to a chiropractor about it, and he guessed that my ribs were misaligned, causing my muscles to be too tight to allow a full breath. Well, since my treatment there is free i've been going back regularily. It helps some, though not as much as i'd like. I can often feel that my back is "out", which inhibits the breathing some, and an adjustment will often help-- it just seems to take hours or even days to kick in. At any rate...

I've also almost entirely eliminated caffeine from my diet. This sadly includes chocolate. I found that the caffeine in coffee, tea or even a small chunk of chocolate was often enough to get my muscles, and thus my breathing, tightened up. Oh, how I miss coffee. But I do feel better without it. :?

I also have to agree that it is (at least partially) a mental thing, at least in my case. My first bout of this had me freaking out in the e.R. My oxygen level and lung capacity was fine, as was the chest x-ray. I got told that I had a virus and my body was just "freaking out." really, it was my brain that was freaking out. Now I take g.A.B.A. For the apparent anxiety I feel, valerian (occasionally) for muscle tension, and try to chill out. It helps some.

I know this post is hugely long- sorry about that- but i'll close with what seems to help me the most. Laughter. Yeah, it's corny. But it helps. I don't know whether it's forcing me to breathe deeply with my diaphram, or just upping my endorphins or what- but after spending a few hours with really funny people, I feel great. Same goes with watching funny tv/movies. See? Laughter really is the best medicine. (/corn)
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replied March 4th, 2006
Relieved to Find This
I too, have had this exact problem since I was a young child, and am now 32. It has always been somethingi've had trouble explaining to others... Family and friends would feel sorry for me but look confused and doubtful. I'd say "i feel like I have to yawn, but I can't," and nobody got it. Thank god there are actually people who get it. I agree- thank god for google!

I have always wondered if this may have been caused by exposure to second-hand smoke. The first few times that I remember it starting, I was in the backseat of a car while my father was smoking with the windows up all but a crack, because it was the middle of winter. I was always stressed and worried about breathing in this smoke... I wonder if it was this combination of physical and mental factors for me.
I do have two cats... I actually think I have had more episodes since we got them 3 years ago. There have been stretches of several years where this didn't happen at all.

I wonder if this is my body's way of dealing with stress... I've always been a fairly calm and go-with-the-flow type person, but maybe this is where it's surfacing. I don't know much about panic/anxiety attacks. I'll have to research those more.

When I have these episodes, they usually last for several days. It is extremely frustrating for me. I'm a teacher, and when this is going on, trying to speak for an extended time is very uncomfortable. In the middle of a lesson, i'll actually have to stop several times and change my position, almost stretch out my chest, until I catch my breath again. Usually relaxing and changing my position helps. Right now, I can tell i'm on the tail end of this episode-- I am still thinking about my breathing and worrying that I won't be able to get that satisfying breath, but then I am actually able to get it within two or three tries. Does anybody else experience this at the end of it?

Thanks to all of you who shared your similar stories, it really does help to know you're not alone.
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replied March 4th, 2006
I've wondered about both smoke and cats, too. I am a smoker (bad, bad I know- i'm aiming to quit this year), and we used to smoke in the house. We've quit doing that, now, but I don't know that it's helped much. Also, though we have no cats, my boyfriend's son has been having vague allergic symptoms when over at our house. He's really allergic to cats. I am, too, but only mildly. It makes me wonder if the previous renters in our apt. Had cats and the dander, etc. Is ground into the carpeting.

I totally know what you mean about "knowing" when you'll be able to breathe or not. My breathing mysteriously got awesome a few days ago. I told my mom that I could tell it was great because i'd forget to be worried. This happened just after a chiropractic adjustment, and after spending 2 days at my mom's house (who is a non-smoker and has no pets). Now that i'm back home, the breathing is crappier. Maybe environment is a bigger thing than we thought?

I, too, have to "stretch out my chest" to breathe well. Usually this happens when i've been talking or doing something that raises my heartrate. I usually put my hands on my thighs, stick my butt out and push down with my arms. It forces my shoulder blades apart and seems to work most of the time. Stretching in general seems to help, but it's always hard to tell if the "helping" is coming from some other variable in my life.

I keep thinking- is there a common thread between all of us? I don't expect everyone to list terribly personal information here, but if there's a commonality between us, we might be able to work out something to help us.
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replied March 8th, 2006
Yes, finally people who have this same problem.

Im also very happy to have found this site. I have the same stuff going on, im 21 and this is happening for the first time in my life, 3rd day straight, but all day long.

Hold my mouth open for a while trying to get a deep breath seemingly stuck in a permanent yawn thatll never finish. Always taking shallow breaths with a strange desire to take a huge lungful of fresh air.

Ive smoked cannabis for years and since I thought this was going to kill me ive stopped, but thank god you guys make me feel a lot better about whats going on. Im convinced to try that saltpipe and wonder if anyone else has.

I live by the beach in a non-industrial city - santa cruz, ca. And some of it does seem to be in my head, oddly enough, when at work and having tons of stuff to do and occupy me, im fine and it doesnt even happen, first time I notice it, the next 4 hours are occupied with me worrying about it and trying to take that deep breath :(

like others I cant contribute much to this problem but its a great relief to know it isnt just me afterall. Good luck to us all and I really hope this problem is figured out someday, like you all said, its extremely frustarating, and frightening.
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replied March 12th, 2006
Looking For a Deep Breath
I don't know if this will help some of you- I hope so. I suffered from this inability to take a deep breath for many, many years. It would come and go. Sometimes last for hours, sometimes for days.

My latest doctor (bless him) thought I had an anxiety disorder and started me on anti-anxiety medication. That ended the problem for good. If I do get short breathed with my current medication, I take a 2.5 mg tab of alprazolam and i'm ok in about 15 minutes.
Susan in florida
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replied March 13th, 2006
Same Issues, New Twist
Alright, here we go. I have the same breathing issues, yawning, half breaths, and other symptoms many of you do. I'll get to the twist in a moment...


I'm 40, married, 1 kid. I'm temporarally separated from my wife working this job..Until we can figure out what to do with our life back home and be together again. I lead a professional life, retired military, and now a civilian working in homeland defense area. I manage airspace issues for the dept. Of defense and liaison with the faa, coordinate exercises, and manage only one person in the office. I travel often and have a fear of flying, although I deal with it. I'm also an x-air traffic controller of 20 years. I was a gymnast in high school and still have left over muscles from that era. I'm probably about 20lbs overweight although look okay still, drink coffee, dip skoal, drink nothing by diet coke, and never exercise. That probably says it all. I'm probably over anxious and worry about the future as well.


The twist. I have problems sleeping just in the past week or two. I cannot turn on my side anymore because I can hear my heart seemingly "pounding" and feeling like i'm not breathing correctly. If I happen to slightly drift to sleep, I may catch myself not breathing and suddenly jump to my feet, reassuring myself i'm okay. What the heck is going on? I took 3 tylenol pms which had no effect the other night. I fell asleep around 3am. The part that bothers me the most is the beating of my heart and the fact that it's noticable...It never was before. My blood pressure is normal. I have not seen a doctor yet, but plan to this week.


I still somehow manage to lead my professional life and not freak out. I actually feel better just writing about this. I can't help believing that most of us should probably change our lifestyles, in terms of dieting and exercise. We must loose the diet coke, caffeine, smoking and chewing too. I'm at the point where I have to rearrange my whole life drastically. You can surely understand at my age, I cannot ward off the offensive chemicals i'm putting in my body, like I probably could between 20-30 yrs old. I'll let you know what the doctor says.


I wish you all a healthy life and hope we can all breath a little easier! :)

webtrance

ps, I also sit around a lot and play unreal tournament and work with graphics. (key word "sit" ...Allot of sitting all day)
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replied March 16th, 2006
Man, I thought it was just me! I really thought I was going crazy, going to die etc.

I am 26 and I have had virtually the same syptoms as all of the other posts on here for the best part of a year. I am also prone to anxiety, especially where death is concerned. It got so bad tonight I googled "cannot yawn" and got this site, it is reassuring when 60 year olds say they had this for years and are still kicking on-thank you! The other day my breathing was so bad I called an ambulance, they checked me over at the hospital-apparantly I couldn't be healthier. My doc diagnosed asthma but I don't think it is, the symptoms just don't jive. This just seems to be a mystery to the medical world right now, so I have to ask-what the heck is it? Does anyone elses friends/partners just not understand how serious it feels when you can't get a decent breath anymore? It seriously freaks me out sometimes. I find air conditioning makes it worse and night time is never easy anymore, wondering if I will get an attack.

Anyway, it's so good to know I don't have some illness that belongs to me alone-now I belong to a club! Probably a club not many want to join though....
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replied March 16th, 2006
I Believe You're Okay
James, I think you're going to be fine. This is something we all have to be patient with. I think the important thing is that we realize we have a problem, whether anxious or another physiological issue. Breathing exercises help me. That entails exhaling all the way...I mean until no air is in your lungs. I would do this several times and then attempt to take a full breath. Do not be discouraged if a full and satisfying breath doesn't happen after your exhales. It will come.

The first time this happened to me I was 32 and in korea. It was winter and I was probably under a lot of stress due to my work. The same thing is now happening while I in the northern us and i'm a little stressed at work. So, for me the cold environment and stress at work may be causal factors.

I've almost been to that point were I felt like I needed something...An inhaler, an ambulance...Something. But, I treid to relax and calmed down. Do not panic...It's really going to be alright for you. I will start eating healthier and exercising a bit more. I would recommend that. I would also cut/paste the forum postings that apply to you and show them to your doctor sometime. That's what i'm going to do. Hang in there. We all wish you the best! - web
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