British Lung Foundation
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Leg Pain Cramp & Hyperventilation

Leg Pain Cramp & Hyperventilation

What I day I had ... Wednesday I was feeling tad rough proberly odd bug infection trying it on Nothing new for lung disease suffers.

But Thursday started of innocent enough ... then by afternoon my legs at the front started killing me wile I was out shopping Enough for me to seek out a pensioner bench.

I guess you call them pensioner BENCHES when a younger lung disease suffer ANYWAY pain was horrendous given I was already trying to carry on being Tad Dizzy as well.

Then pain went from legs and effected my BREATHING just could not catch my BREATH talk about Cold Fingers and a Red Hot Head .... I could not catch my breath MY mouth was open BUT was like nothing was happing TALK about a gold fish out of water .. I thought I was going to die there and then.

I don't know if it was ANXIETY but all I know I could not breath AND I had pain that had moved from my legs to my back across my shoulder blade.

I don't know if I was over doing it given I was tad under weather or if it was stress or hyperventilation syndrome ... but it was shockingly horrendous THAT nearly resulted in me passing out AND me needing AMBULANCE first aid assistance.

Luckily I managed to compose myself enough to TEL my Lung Disease COPD Emphysema that I was still in control.

And crawled to what as I can only describe as my very considerate caring GP Practice given how I presented at the respontions desk ASKING to see a doctor / nurse practitioner .. anyone as I was dieing.

I could not even talk and was shaking uncontrollably sweat was dripping from under me HAT and LUCKLY doctor agreed to see me there and then ..

The did a few test BP / Spo2 Had Listen to my heart chest pulse .. Then asked me all sort BUT mainly asked how I have gotten into this state.

I told them my day had started of good went out feeling not great BUT you do have to try BUT I was happy .. Then Bang nearly AMBULANCE job.

I don't know what was going on .. but doc reassured me and said all sounds pulse sats was good ... and I had probably over done it OR I was suffering Xmas ANXIETY or PANIC ATACK Hyppervetalation

I never knew stress ANXIETY could cause leg cramps or even pain BUT today I do esp if you have lung disease copd.

Here is link for STRESS test ... To test how much your beans have been cooked this Xmas given ill Heath cuts reforms etc

12 Replies


Sounds scary, but anxiety will make matters worse which is why i usually have some valium around. I had a similar episode in August when i was visiting the UK. I was walking up Guildford high street, which has a bit of an incline, got less than halfway when i suddenly lost my breath. Like you i found a bench but could not catch my breath, i was starting to panic then realised i was sitting outside boots and remembered a video i had seen with a patient using a hand held fan. Went into boots, grabbed one off the shelf, paid, tore the packaging off and stood in the middle of boots with this fan blowing on worked. So i bought another one and have one in the house and one in the car...just in case.



Hi daz, I hope you have recovered from the distressing episode's so easy to get into the vicious cycle of anxiety , panic and breathlessness.

Did you have your inhaler with you? And you said you were mouth breathing like a goldfish...I know you have problems with a blocked nose ...but gentle nose breaths help prevent hyperventilation .

I have a hand held fan too, very useful, and I find stopping and resting leaning forward helps too.

When you are at home and relaxed, try and practice gentle diaphragm breathing ....have you tried meditation at all, I find that calming.

Take care.

1 like

That was most interesting. Thanks a lot.

I have a lot of anxiety myself. When I'm

driving my car, my heart beats like crazy.

Like something horrible is going to happen. Or if I go somewhere different,

I will have the fast heartbeat. Just telling you about it, even sets it off! So what do we do about it?

Rubyxx 😊

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Oh Daz what a lousy experience, interesting that panic can cause leg pain, but does make sense really, if I was you I'd milk it and say you can't possible do any Xmas shopping !!!!


interesting read hope you feel better soon ,


When I went to work the bosses organised a stress seminar for us spread over a couple of afternoons. As at the time my work schedule was booked 6 months in advance and I had only a few 'spare' days when I didn't have appointments my first stressor was trying to re-arrange my schedule to fit these blooming seminars in.

So usual thing find a seat, say hallo everybody and what my job was, even though everybody in the room worked for the same team and the only person who did not know us was the facilitator when all I wanted to do was get another coffee, so my stress level was rising. After a period of time in which we were told how to recognise when your stress levels were rising, we were given a small sticky back blue dot which we were told to put on the pulse point on our wrists, mine immediately went black. After about 5 mins we had to look at a colour chart and assess what our stress levels black being the 'oh dear, I'm in a bad way big time'. Mine never changed from black even after we ran through 'releasing our feelings' exercises and 'relaxing meditation'.

The facilitator gave me several tabs and asked me to keep a note of when the colour of the tabs changed. The following session I was able to report that they never did change from black even on waking up in the morning. It was suggested I visit my doctor asap as it would appear I could be heading for a nervous breakdown. Never did have a breakdown, but did develop IBS which is probably due to stress and do have panic attacks now and again.

Hope you are feeling better D3NIS, I have decided to have a stress free Christmas this year which for me means I will not start panicking until the 23rd and then calm down on the 27th.




That sounds scary. I am glad you managed to get into GP surgery and hope you are feeling better now. xx


Sounds like it was a full blown panic attack. It is never easy trying to think about controlling the breathing when it is not going that well.

I have a technique when the breathing is out of control.

Sit down and lean slightly forward

Take deep slow breaths in, hold and slowly out.

Keep that up until you feel in control.

The body will do strange things to move oxygen about when needed. If you have ever jumped in cold water and it has taken your breath away? It is the body that does just that by moving blood to the outside to warm the skin but it is rich in oxygen! Which is then not supporting the heart so we then gasp for more air to fill that gap. In cold water it has been known to bring on heart attacks in even the fittest people.

We have heard of young children being under cold water for a very long time and being revived it appears that as soon as cold water hits the lungs the body moves as much oxygen to the brain to keep it alive longer?

Sorry gone off track there :)

Hope you feel a lot better soon.

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I had a panic attack in the pool I was so out of breath in the deep end and it wasn't because I couldn't swim I used to swim in the county team at school. Its not nice the feeling your going to die and the light headed feel is so bad.


Not always, but most of the time, when I'm having a bit of a panicky feeling, I hunker down and do something physical like walking or pushups against the kitchen counter or any number of other things to deflect my attention and energy. Seems to work for me but, of course, you were already out for a walk so there must be some other solution for you.

Hope you find one soon; take care and keep up the battle.


Hi, I too suffer anxiety so severely I can't breathe at times and that chart helps to explain it. Last week I was sob and sharp, intermittent pain in lower chest. Doctor ordered ambulance and turns out I had bilateral pulmonary embolisms so I think better to check with dr as I could have died without proper treatment.

Cheers Ngaire



I know just how you're feeling when you have pain & SOB (shortness of breath) which brings on a panic attack & makes you feel extremely vulnerable.

Carrying a shopping basket makes it worse for me because the heavier it becomes, the less able I am to carry it. I start to get pains in my back & legs, & unless I can sit down & rest, find this often triggers the SOB.

The solution is to get a small shopping trolley & lean on that - so no SOB. As I'm not carrying any weight (It's all in the trolley) there's no pain.

Well that only leaves the crowds, the endless queueing, the earspliitting screams of kiddies, the drive you crazy Xmas "music", the pushing & shoving, & general chaos.

You are correct D3NIS , it's very STRESSFUL. Take care & Merry Xmas.


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