Abnormal chest tightness: I just... - Asthma UK communi...

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Abnormal chest tightness

I just wondered how other peoples chest tightness in relation to asthma manifests itself?

I usually find that the front of my chest gets tight, as though someone is sat on my chest, but recently I've found that I'm getting tightness across the back too, almost like my back muscles are knotted and i need a good massage, but I've tried this and it gives no relief. It can sometimes be a bit painful aswel as tight.

I have been having trouble for the past few weeks with an asthma flare up and am finding that my Peak flow is consistently low even after ventolin, don't get me wrong, it improves after ventolin, but I'm not reaching anywhere near my personal best.

Any suggestions?

16 Replies

That's one of my main symptoms (cough is other). I don't wheeze and doc thought I was having heart problems at first lol. Respigen usually gets rid of it, sometimes takes a while. My chiropractor always notices it if I have it when I see him. He adjusts that area if its playing up. Seems to help - took me a while to link the mid back pain with my chest tightness. Deffo see a pattern now though. X Sue

Thanks for your reply Marvin, glad it's not just me with strange symptoms!

Chest tightness (leading to pain) is also my most common symptom, and I seem to have it several times a week. I haven't yet found anything that completely relieves it, but I like to relax and try to take nice deep breaths and all that stuff to make it a bit better

Hope you improve soon!


Sorry, you are having a rough time, Butterfly!

I get soreness back and front just under the rib cage and sometimes higher up across the back - I've always assumed it is just sore muscles from having to work harder to breathe.

Another kind of tightness I get is feeling like someone pumped up my lungs with a bicycle pump - i.e. my lungs are puffed up bigger than my chest is comfortable with - seems to correspond to hyperinflation.

Hope you feel better soon.

Thanks for your replies.

Ah Beth, yes I never thought about it being muscle pain from working harder, that'll be why I don't get much relief from ventolin. I do get sore muscles in general anyway, even eating leaves my jaw muscles tired and sore, so any extra effort needed to breathe will tire my muscles.

I can relate to the over inflated feeling too, like an over inflated balloon!!

I get various sorts of tightness, not sure what they correspond to but they are all related to asthma:

-pressure at the front like something sitting on me (less often)

-'the corset'

-just at the back (seems to be when less problematic though not always)

-Steve the boa (when worse - reallly squeezy)

I also get chest pains/rib pains/soreness when bad as if I've been working them too hard - oww. Esp the rib pain when coughing which makes sense. Sometimes after an actual attack (as opposed to day to day stuff) and during I get accessory muscle soreness too. ugh

Hope your asthma improves soon Butterfly - must be very frustrating when it had got so much better!

Seems there's a whole array of weird and wonderful aches pains and tightnesses, thank goodness I'm not alone lol.

Yes Philomela, very frustrating, to be close to the prospect of long term pred, to then have symptoms totally disappear was strange but great, and now to have it reappear has left me confused and scared to be honest.

Hi Butterfly, one of my first symptoms has always been tightness across my back inbetween my shoulder blades and a bit lower. Glad its not just me, sometimes I think the doctors think I'm barking! It will then progress to my chest if left uncontrolled / starting an attack. When I was a child I used to get itchy across that part of my back too! And for some reason hot orange juice would set the itching and then asthma off ! Never knew why .. Hope you feel better soon. X

Ha ha yeah I haven't tried explaining this one to the docs, i confuse them enough by not wheezing, retaining good sats but not be able to speak in more than one word at a time, without trying to describe a deep pain/tightness across my back!

I bet an itchy back was a strange symptom to get as a kid, especially in response to hot orange! I find orangeade sets mine off, no other fizzy drink, just orange!

Well I woke up really struggling last night, and the strange tightness I got in my back seemed to creep over my shoulders to meet the tightness at the front. So this is a new one for me and did think it was going to be a blue light jobby but fortunately my lungs responded to lots of ventolin and touch wood they seem to be lasting with multidosing every 4 hours. The tightness is still there to some extent but not as bad as last night.

Sorry to hear you had a rough night Butterfly, hope you're feeling a bit better and multidosing less now?? Like you I haven't wheezed during my attacks , SATs have remained good and I get that deep , heavy pain in between my shoulder blades. Funny how asthma can change isn't it? You think you know your symptoms, severity etc but it can take you by surprise!

Take it easy x

Still managing about 4 hours, see what tonight brings ;-( at work tomorrow so could do with things calming down, and some sleep.

Yes you think you know what to expect then things suddenly change and you know what to expect or how to respond!

Thanks again xxx

Oh that doesn't sound too good having to multidose so often and having to work today. Hope you took it easy .sounds as if you shouldn't be working today at all. How did you get on? Xx

Thanks Mamma Mia, I ended up ringing in sick after a terrible night last night (see other post) I couldn't face it after so little sleep and feeling so rough. After a day sofa surfing I haven't done too bad today so will hopefully be back tomorrow, I am really concious about having too much time off.

Just saw your other post and replied. Glad you feel bit better , you did the right thing taking the day off, I know what you mean tho bout work. I have chronic fatigue, fairly diagnosed within last year and I've been off work so much with that. Couldnt Believe I was then OK off just there for more than a week with my asthma . have come to realise tho that your health is important. Hope you keep taking it easy til you feel better! Xx

Apologies for the typos! Hate this tablet! X

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