breathing issues..tight back: hello to you... - Anxiety Support

Anxiety Support

46,417 members46,739 posts

breathing issues..tight back


hello to you all. hope everyone is doing good. i've been having some issues with my breathing lately and i was hoping to hear from anyone else in the same boat or that has experienced this before. i get a tight feeling on my back muscles and sometimes my chest muscles. i often get this sensation as if my lungs are wanting to push out air...or exhale. i do feel short of breath at times as well. i've read that tight back and chest muscles can sometimes restrict a persons breathing and i'm wondering if that's the case with me. i have dealt with tight back and chest muscles before due to my anxiety buy it's never been an issue with my breathing. the funny thing is that the breathing thing isn't an issue when i sit down or lay down and the muscle tightness is noticeably less. only when i am walking around or standing do i get the shortness of breath sensation and the tight feeling in my back and chest...also tight neck muscles. when my anxiety level goes up the tightness in my back, chest and neck gets worse. that's what makes me think this is all anxiety related and not asthma or respiratory tract issues. i'm not a doctor but i would think that if it were something with my lungs it would be an issue whether i am standing or sitting...right? i've also read how anxiety can make us bloated and this can also affect our breathing. i do feel bloated frequently and at times when i try to take a deep breath it's like my stomach will not expand any more to allow me to inhale. id love to hear from others that have been through this. thanks and i hope you guys are all hanging in there.

10 Replies

I have also felt that I struggle to get in a full breath of air when I am bloated, because I know that it is the way we are supposed to breath - our stomach must lift up. I have a few tips, see if they work for you.

My tips for handling that panic attacks.  

1.Keep on breathing!! — Do not stop breathing because you want to count your heart beats. Is it just me or do you also hold in your breath and start “feeling” and counting your heartbeats?

How fast is it going now, am I going to make it, is it going to fast?

2.Don’t fight it accept it!! My attitude was OK panic bring it on let’s see what you’ve got.

3.Muscle relaxation!! Tense and then relax all the muscle groups, one by one, you can start from your feet up to your head or the other way around. This can take up to 20 minutes or you could just do a quick 5-10 minute exercise.

4.Build a victory bank and remember any victories you had over panic. Even the smallest victories can help you build this victory bank.


My story is a long one, I have AFIB (that you do not have) and HAD panic attacks, but you can read a small part of it at:

MrMike in reply to Janco

thanks for replying Janco. I actually dont have the panic attacks anymore..haven't for years..but this does stress me out very much because it's the first time i have had breathing issues in the 30 or so years i've been dealing with panic disorder and GAD. i go the whole day focusing on my breathing now...convinced that there is something obstructing my airway...or my lungs are swollen and pressing against my ribs...or my liver is bloated and pressing against my lungs...yeah all kinds of crazy things. i know this is normal for someone with GAD to always think the worst but it's scary none the less. i just needed to hear that there are others going through this too. my problem is that i can't see a doctor because i have no insurance and really bad agoraphobia. so my big fear is that this may be something bad and won't go away. there are many things that point to this being anxiety related but still i cant get those bad thoughts out of my head..and i know those bad thoughts only make the symptoms worse. there are times during the day where i won't focus so much on the breathing and notice that during those moments things feel fine again..and it's those moments that keep me grounded and pushing on. thank you so much for your tips. i do try to accept things for what they are. that's how i was able to overcome my panic attacks years ago. i just haven't had the same luck dealing with my obsession with health issues. the victory bank idea is awesome...i'll be trying that one for sure. thanks again and hope you have a great day!

Janco in reply to MrMike

I read about your GAD, agoraphobia and no insurance but a quick visit to a doctor could eliminate many of your fears about breathing, so that you do not have to worry about them.

If I read your last post I think you have already answered yourself about it being in your head.

" i go the whole day focusing on my breathing now...convinced that there is something obstructing my airway...or my lungs are swollen and pressing against my ribs...or my liver is bloated and pressing against my lungs...yeah all kinds of crazy things. i know this is normal for someone with GAD to always think the worst but it's scary none the less."

But I know how it is, I have created many "scary scenes" in my head too. I wrote a post about "arresting my thoughts" because I know how important it was for me to create the right pictures in my mind.

Specific breathing techniques and diet is also important.

I know you are going to get better.

MrMike in reply to Janco

probably the one thing that has affected my anxiety in a negative way the most is the trouble i have getting myself to a doctor. i have not been to a doctor in over 15 years and have relied on natural remedies for any health issues i've run into so far. some health issues i've had to just wait it out while they ran their course. i'm very aware that the mind plays tricks on us...and that it is the very reason anxiety is such a beast...but i'm at the age now where health issues become that much scarier because i realize i cannot be sure anxiety is at the root of my health issues now. seeing a doctor would be such a blessing to me like you cannot even imagine. i do not work due to my gad and do not receive any type of aid such as disability so my only source of income is what i can get making digital logos and designs for people...but because of my stress level lately even that has been affected since i cannot sit at the computer for more than a few minutes at a time anymore. sometimes i truly wish that something so bad would happen to me where i would need to call an ambulance to get myself to the ER. the thing is that all of the symptoms i've had have never been serious enough to have to call for help...they've only been annoying enough to drive me bonkers on a daily basis. ugh. it's like slow torture. i see how others go to their doctors and get checked and come out negative on their tests...which to me would bring such great relief because then i would know how to deal with a symptom knowing it was caused by my anxiety and not something more serious.  i do try hard to keep myself in a positive mood but it's just been so overwhelming lately that sometimes i feel like im at the brink of losing my grip. im thankful for this group and people like you because it's such a tremendous help knowing that their are others fighting the same battle and truly understand what im dealing with. thanks again Janco.

ba2354608 in reply to MrMike

Please see your doctor

If you want to, you can read my blog post on my panic attacks:

There is hope!

This thread has helped me beyond belief. I too have GAD, my anxiety tends to lean toward health and borderline hypochondria. I have had these same issues (tight upper abdomen, chest, back and neck) when in an upright position for the last week. I have a really hard time convincing myself it's all in my head when my mind tells me I have deteriorating lungs. I'm just so happy to encounter others that experience these symptoms, and whom also have anxiety disorder(s). Finding others who experience similar things as I seems to be the only way I can truly trick my mind into deescalating an episode of panic and anxiety. Thank you so much for being strong and for opening up about your fears. I couldn't appreciate it more.

This sounds just like me , I keep thinking I'm dying of some disease . GAD sucks

Hello, i have the same issues your having on a daily basis! I'd like to talk if you would like..

I have the same thing and when I breath sometimes it feels like my breathing is skipping from my chest being tight..... if that makes sense me I've been dealing with this so long.....its anxiety......fall asleep to hypnosis for anxiety or affirmations for health anxiety and in time it will get better

You may also like...