can fibromyalgia affect your breathing

I have recenltly been taken to A&E because I had difficulty breathing and was very dizzy, I had pain around the front of my chest but nowhere else. I had a fever and was sweating. I went to see the doctor because I had the chest pain.

After 3 days in hospital, I went home and saw my own GP a few days later, he checked my breathing etc., and dx chest infection. That has now gone after a course of abx. Still short of breath. Still got the pain, still dizzy.

I was sent for a lung function test, I am normal. nothing wrong with my lungs, had cat scan and pet scan, nothing abnormal dx except for a little growth in the lung, which isn't affecting my breathing. The lady who was doing the lung function test told me as the tests are normal, she couldnt understand what was happening, until I told her I had fibromyalgia.... ahhh! she said, this is different, its not your lungs, its your muscles on your chest wall, and as the chest wall muscles spasm they squeeze your lungs, affecting your airways. I don't know how accurate this is, but my doctor said a similar thing and gave me inhaler.

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30 Replies

  • Hi,

    Fibromyalgia can affect all of us in different ways. I think that having had various things ruled out, then what your GP said, and also what the lady doing the lung function said, then Fibro is very likely to be the culprit. The inhaler might make a big difference :-)



  • Congratulations on getting member of the month jillylin :) How are you?xxx

  • Thank you. Not having a great day, I struggle with pacing then pay the price but thanks for asking.



  • Hi Milly, I agree with jilly, but I would say that if you still have concerns about this then you should go back and voice them to your GP but telling him what the lady who did your lung function test said, and ask if he agrees with what she said. This will put your mind to rest and you can either find some more management for your fibro or get support for the problems you are having with your breathing.

    I am sending positive healing vibes your way :-)

    Foggy x

  • I was rushed into hospital by ambulance with exact same symptoms! Was kept in al day, heart trace x ray done and then sent home. Said the tests were clear and I had probably took a panic attack! Didn't feel I was taken seriously , what you were told makes more sense xx


  • Hi my daughter had a pain in her chest and side and I think she was getting very worried about it and started holding her breath with the pain

    Which now we know it started her to hypoventlate 2 times I panicked to

    Phoned out of hours gone through all the questions and ended up the hospital by means of me taken her . They did an ECG after an bout an hours wait blood tests Whitch my 25 year old daughter hates arfter seven hours they came back and said there was nothing wrong basically put it

    Down to a panic attack. We whent to the normal doctors to find out what

    The pain was and they said they think it's her ribs get a bit inflamed and rubs somethink I can't remember every thing that was said but because

    She was getting her worked up about the pain she was making her self

    Panic .now when she gets the pain she dose not panic so much take a tablet and try's to breath properly but I don't think doctors or hospital

    Take things like this serisily and know how it affect people hugs Cherokee x

  • Hi look up costacondritis. See if the symptons match. It is part of fibro. If it is let me know. I've had it 3 times in 4 years and it is so painfull. Yes I'm on morphine too. Good luck x

  • Hi milly, I to get chest pain just one side my left ,and get a bit wezzy .

    I have had what I think was a breathing test all clear , so I've put it down to fibro

    As my doctor as said befor it's all down to stress . Gently hugs Cherokee x

  • i also have problems with my breathing but i was diagnosed with COPD a few years ago.

    Belinda x

  • I was the exact same a couple of weeks ago. I went to the emergency doctor and he put me on tramadol give me a rub and sent back home.

  • I have had breathing problems over the last 5-6 years. With the increase of my fibro there is always an increase of the breathing problems. My doctors have put it down to panic attacks which I find strange to understand as my life over the last ten years has not changed. I have found if you can find a good breathing routine that you can use when you feel your breathing getting bad it really helps. It may be worth looking online and trying a few techniques to see which one suits you best. I hope this helps and you start feeling better.

  • Heart doc told me it was a trapped nerve and put my mind at rest as I have a right bundle branch block already. Its all part of fibro unfortunately

  • Hi all,

    Another horrid symptom of this fibro ..... But for me I have found that once I know it's not something "more serious" I can go ahead and find some self help . My osteopath was very helpful when my intercostals were in spasm ( very painful) and my yoga teacher reminded me of some specific breathing exercises to help to relax me and those muscles. Might be worth finding out more ? Moo x

  • i also had breathing difficulties and chest pain, dx atrial fibrillation but later with added stomach pain, dx ibs. it was ibs causing breathing probs - wheat soya gluten stimulents (ie choc, tea, coffee, alcohol, tobacco) nuts dairy fish red meat fat/oil peppers onion salad smoked/spicey. wheat is the worst! good luck

  • Hi, That's really interesting point from the lady doing your lung function test. I too have had all the relevant tests for this problem, all clear (apart from a little lung damage done by a pulmonary embolism last year). I have tried various inhalers but none were effective. I was referred to a respiratory physiotherapist and she was fantastic.

  • yeah I have salbutamol for the same thing plus for my chemical sensitivities

    :) xxxzebxxx :)

  • Hi, I too suffer with this problem and have had it all weekend actually. My husband worries and tells me to go to the Dr, but I went at the beginning of the year with pains in my chest and left side. He sent me for an xray, which was clear, and put it down to fibro. I do sympathise with you as it is really uncomfortable and not nice for people who have to watch you in pain either! I have tried a heat pad this weekend to keep the muscles warm and although I still have it today it is not as bad. Take care, Amanda x

  • I also have this problem and thought I might be developing asthma (as it runs in the family) but I realised it's the muscles affecting my lung function.

  • I have had breathless the same and was told the same thing.I also have asthma but this was different. I also had symptoms I though were a heart attack was taken in and they said my heart muscle had gone into spasm from the fibro and it wasn't a heart problem as I had an angiogram which came back with no problems in my heart.

    My ribs are the worse place for spasms and often cause me problems.

  • Hiya,

    I think what you are suffering from is called costocondritis, I suffer from this, and it it linked with fibro. It is inflammation of the sinues and muscles that are joined to the chest wall.It usually only affects the left side, I get pain and have trouble breathing. I am going to see a specialist next week, a week on Wednesday, will let you know how I go on, if that will help.

    cheers for now

    Joyce xx

  • I have had pain, like a vice-like grip so I can't breathe in but it doesn't fit with costo because that apparently lasts for weeks but this lasts for minutes only but is very scary and feels like a heart attack. I phoned NHS Direct last time it happened.

  • Hi Milly,

    I get this too. Scans, echo and lung function clear. Do have heart block stage one, and this could be fibro or normal for me anyway. I also get coughing urge with mine too and a little mucous sometimes...think this might be where lungs/chest wall constricts, and releasing the mucous helps. It stands to reason that if our other muscles are fatigued then our chest will too. And bear in mind the trigger points all around thoracic area. I went in to A&E and told to chill out. My respiratory nurse said clearly something inflammatory going on and prescribed an inhaler. It has eased off lately. Last year I was getting it frequently and is very frightening. The more you worry the worse it gets. What that nurse told you sounds great; makes sense...mine had no idea fibro can cause air hunger and shortness of breath. Very common in CFS too. I get puffed easily some days all to do with overall weakness/fatigue. What the medics don't get, is that the air hunger hits first and we struggle to breathe getting tighter and tighter and chest pains...then, naturally the panic kicks in making things worse.

    'Try' diaphragmatic breathing, move around and have a relaxing herbal tea, or hot water with lemon and a little bit of honey. I always found mine worse at night, although some days it would strike out of the blue. I can literally feel like something and clunked in my chest and off it goes for a few hours or several days. The more I relax the easier it gets. Stressing makes us breathe higher and higher up the chest till we literally can't fill lungs up.

    This is useful re trigger points and air hunger

  • Yep, been going through the same thing, my doctor last week sent me for gallbladder ultra sound as the pain is horrific at times in spasms. She does not want me using my neb/inhaler more than 2x a week or she will change it from albuterol to a steroid to make it work. My pulmonary function tests were perfect, my EKG too. Seeing the cardiologists in 2 days for a stress testing. The chest pain goes mid chest to right and then down the arm. The weather absolutely has issues with the pain factor. So will be nice to see what the test results are shortly. Talked to other FMSers who also have gone through this and had the gallbladder surgery. It takes 10 years for the gallbladder to set itself up to respond to us. This means alot of referred pain goes on. The thickening of the wall of the GB is the clue they go by. Not necessarily the amount of stones. My niece's was gangrenous but no stones.

    JN, USA.

  • Hi I have trouble breathing and get dizzy also stabbing pains in my chest but there is nothing you can do apart from take your time and work out what you can do and can't do . Take care gentle hugs xx

  • Yes, this happened to me!! I was rushing a bit too much and had this incredible pain in my chest on breathing. Went to GP, she did all the checks then says it's my chest muscles!!! I haven't had the pain since but I often get little 'twinges'. XX


  • Costocondritis is commonly linked with fibro and thats what it sounds like u have because its painfull to breath correctly then u tend to shallow breath which reults in lower oxygen levels and that can cause u to feel dizzy in return. They have ruled out the most important things in the tests they have carried out and your heart and lungs appear fine so anti inflamatory's are the most appropriate in most cases for this, speak to your GP about medication there is a number of things u could be given xx

  • I saw my doctor and told him what the lung function lady said, he totally agreed with her. He understands fibromyalgia, and that through me he understands there are an awful lot of different symptoms that mimic other diseases.

    I hate the way that medical people always tell us its either panic attacks, or its all in our heads.

    Thank you all for responding. I have had trouble getting on here which is why its taken so long to read your replies, it seems most of us have very similar symptoms.

  • I to suffer from fibromyalgia and breathing difficulties I'm scared to back to my gp in case he tells me it's all in my head

  • I just had a stress echo test due to shortness of breath, heart is fine but there appeared to be partial blockage in the arteries to my lungs. The cardioligist said problems with arteries is consistent with fibromyalgia they don't understand why, he says there is medications that will help. A lung function test had come back with ok function. Now to wait until my immunologist appointment in December to find out the rest.

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