Hi there. Well, I woke up one morning 2 months ago and felt short of breath...like I couldn't get a full satisfying breath and my chest had

locked up on me. Since then I have felt off and on heaviness in my chest, like a smothering suffocating feeling, and sometimes it lasts nearly all day, and so often I just can't get that deep satisfying breath so I try to force it by frequent yawning, and sometimes I can't even complete the yawn! It has made my life a living hell recently, and doctors can't seem to find anything else wrong with me other than to say it's anxiety. They gave me Efexor which after 6 weeks has done no good and I think may be making it worse so I am trying to wean off that. In the meantime the only thing that seem to bring me any relief is Valium! Has anyone else had this, and if so, have you tried anything that works?! This is beyond awful!


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12 Replies

  • Hi, I understand completely what your going through, it's Hyperventilating, I have this problem quite often and it can last from days to weeks. The feeling that you need to yawn on every breath to get that 'Top breath'. It's awful, try breathing in through your nose for 4 seconds and then out through your mouth through pursed lips for 7 seconds and keep repeating, try and breath with your stomach and not your chest. I know it's hard because you feel like your not getting enough air in but keep at it, it does work eventually. Hope this helps. Sarah.

  • Yes, I will definitely give that a try! It sounds like it would be hard to do in the middle of an "attack", but like you said, it does work eventually. This weird breathless thing is such a nuisance and sometimes a very scary thing to have happen!!

  • Yes it is, I've had it on and of for years, my doctor just advised me to do yoga or Pilates, not really for me lol, but honestly it does work eventually, I know sometimes during an attack it can be painful, your chest hurts an feels like you have pulled every muscle around your ribs because if this over breathing malarkey, it's a bloody nuicence, just try and relax and keep on with the exercises, it's not a quick fix tho but you will get there :)

  • Thanks so much for your advice, and even though I wouldn't wish this on anyone, it is sort of comforting to know that I'm not the only one! Just out of curiosity,..how did yours start in the first place? Did it follow some stressful event, or did it just come totally out of the blue one day?

  • It kinda built up over the years probably when I was about 19, I'm now 33, it happens mostly when I feel anxious over something, or after a while of being stressed or worried over something, it's as annoying as hell.

  • Sorry I didn't really answer your question there, it came on out of the blue during a stressful time :)

  • Yeah, that's pretty much how mine happened too, interestingly enough. I had my first breathing "attacks" when I was 19, after a period of stress over a family situation, then they just flared up out of nowhere here 13 years later, (I'm 32 now). And yes, it IS annoying as hell! Especially these days when they seem to happen everyday in some form or other... it's awful.

  • ..oh by the way... have you ever taken any kind of medication that is helpful? My doctor recommended antidepressants like Effexor, or Lexapro, etc to hopefully lessen the anxiety (long term) that causes these attacks, and a short term calmative like Valium for the really bad days here and there. i must admit that I've used the valium a few times and it does work very well to relax my chest muscles. Just wondering if you had tried anything medicine-wise that worked for you.

  • I get like this too, I always find it worse if I have acid indigestion.

  • Yes, I also have acid reflux issues, and that DOES make it worse! My doctor recently prescribed a med to help with that, so I'll see if that helps my the chest tightness/breathing issues.

  • Hi,

    I'm going through similar right now. What do you mean by locked up??

    You know that feeling you get on your side from running sometimes that lightening type pain? Stitch?

    I'm getting that under the breasts right on the ribs, then it make me feel that smothered feeling and the rest of what you describe I was feeling ok prior to my hot bath then afterwards I started getting them it's scary!!

  • Yeah, mine is pretty much like what you describe, except that it's not so much a "stitch" but more a feeling of just not being able to get enough breath in,..and like someone is sitting on my chest smothering me. I can usually get a full breath after a few tries though, or I just force myself to yawn, and then I'm fine. The key (they say) is to try not to breath in through your chest, but rather low and slow through your abdomen. I try that, but it doesn't always "feel" satisfying. Anyway, it's probably just a matter of learning how to breath better (more 'correctly', lol!) I'm trying not to stress too much about it. I've had it happen on and off over the years, it was just annoying me because it had been more frequent lately.

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