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Dysfunctional breathing pattern

bryan45735 profile image
12 Replies

Hi please can anyone tell me there experiences and symptoms of dysfunctional breathing I've got very mild copd but apparently it's more dysfunctional breathing im seeing a lung physio but just wanted anyone's stories thanks x

12 Replies
pink123floyd profile image

Hi Bryan45735 I was diagnosed in 2000 with dysfunctional breathing when i had a bronchostomy and they found my windpipe had closed up i am Asthmatic have COPD and Bronchitisis i use a nebuliser 3 times a day and also 3 different inhalers plus 2 different tablets my peak flow has never hit more than 350 i also use a AEROBIKA which help to get mucus off my lungs' even with all this going on now i have a small collapse on my broni , i love the cold weather but it dose not like me it seems to kick of a lot of coughing and heavy breathing and tight chest plus strong smell perfume ect 'so i all ways wear a mask and keep my chest well covered i do the breathing excersises but still suffer a lot and hear my family shouting breath when im doing anything😂😂 you have to laugh or you would just cry i love gardening but find i can no longer bend down with out being short of breath . sorry for the long rant stay safe take care. hope you get your appoinment soon .xxx

RJef profile image

Hello Brian, I have asthma, bronchiectasis, and persistent long-term infections in my lungs. I saw a physiotherapist too to help me with my lung clearance techniques. She was very kind and helpful, but also told me my way of breathing was rubbish. She said I was breathing in a match to shallow way and not breathing properly from the diaphragm. I'm sure she was right, and it made sense to me, but the more I tried to to do what she suggested the more self-conscious and muddled my my efforts at breathing better became.

The main conclusion I have drawn is is to persevere and try and use the best of the clinical advice you get, but definitely not to be too hard on yourself. At one point late last year I found I was bringing up much less mucus when I did my clearance exercises, and convinced myself I was doing it all wrong. After a few weeks it became clear that a change in medication had dramatically changed the amount of mucus I had and and the reduction in the amount I was producing had nothing to do with my my poor breathing techniques, and much more to do with the the medication. It has since increased again a little, and I do produce more when clearing my lungs, but I still feel much better.

I think clinical advice can be confusing

RJef profile image

Hello Bryan, sorry sent my reply too soon. I was just going to emphasise that you're the person who has to do the breathing and that while one should be grateful and respectful for professional opinion, if you are too hard on yourself it will only make the problem more difficult.

Bella-Bestia profile image


Hopefully you’ll see a Respiratory Physiotherapist who will assess your pattern of breathing (as well as giving you chest clearance advice if appropriate)

Without realising it we all alter our movements whether breathing pattern or walking, for example. It didn’t happen overnight so isn’t a quick fix.

In order to change altered patterns we need to consciously become aware in order to adapt the pattern we have developed into a more “normal “ pattern. This allows it to become automatic again (unconscious).

This will take time, but is achievable.

I hope you manage to work well with your Physio.

Take care,


soulsaver profile image

Hi Bryan

I've been similar and know how bad it feels. I resolved it:

Are you on any inhalers? Other meds? Have you been checked for hiatus hernia? Are you very overweight? Which foods makes it worse? Any foods make it feel better?

bryan45735 profile image
bryan45735 in reply to soulsaver

I have a hiatus hernia also certain food make me blout

bryan45735 profile image
bryan45735 in reply to bryan45735

No inhaler

In_the_bardo profile image

I’m going through this now: diagnosis of suspected breath dysfunction, with background asthma (now treated, although took two years to be diagnosed, so presumably that’s the cause of my breathing pattern becoming disordered).

Intellectually I get it - clear x-ray a year ago, lung-function tests show nothing really malign anymore (FeNo of 27, which is mildly elevated but nothing serious), I self-report as sigh-breathing etc etc - but emotionally…urgh. Hard to credit something like a small disturbance of your breathing pattern can cause breathlessness, air hunger, can’t satisfyingly fill my lungs, tight chest, sore lungs. Hard sometimes not to indulge in black-magical thinking and imagine the diagnosis is wrong and it’s something far worse (which perpetuates the pattern of poor breathing).

I’m ten days into breath retraining. Interestingly it’s got worse; I suspect because I’m now so focussed on the sensation of my breath. My intention is to fully commit to the diagnosis and go through retraining for three months. If no relief at all, back to the doctor. Fist raised to all you fellow sufferers.

Side note: anyone have any idea how or why my peak flow is at its very highest when I feel at my most breathless? I just don’t understand the mechanics of it.

AprilZh profile image
AprilZh in reply to In_the_bardo

I'm exactly the same -- my peak flow is higher when I feel the worst too. Did you have an answer to this?

In_the_bardo profile image
In_the_bardo in reply to AprilZh

No idea, April. No one responded and can’t find much online.

(My) best guess is that, at our worst, we’re vaguely hyperventilating, not emptying our lungs properly, so when we do a peak flow reading there’s a whole bag of air in our lungs already.

Alternatively, second guess: our lungs are at their most clear, which means we’re pulling in too much oxygen (the cause of dysfunctional breathing symptoms), so we feel paradoxically at our worst at the point when our lungs are at their best.

AprilZh profile image
AprilZh in reply to In_the_bardo

Thank you so much, In the bardo. The Asthma UK nurse mentioned to me once peak flow is not sensitive to small airway obstruction, but no GP seems to be bothered.

bryan45735 profile image
bryan45735 in reply to In_the_bardo

It feels when you over exsert yr self you a breathing through yr chest

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