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Lung & Respiratory Disorders / COPD Message Board


Lung & Respiratory Disorders / COPD Board Index


I started having the following symptom when I was 19. It's been going on for over 10 years now, and has gradually become more serious.

There's a tightness in my chest and abdomen. I can't breath properly from my stomach or diaphragm; To get a breath, I must attempt to "get around it" somehow usually posturing my back up, raising my shoulders, yawning, and this isn't always successful. That "feeling" of breathing satisfaction towards the end of your breath -- That feeling of the breath completing, that just isn't attained except sometimes if I posture/yawn. I certainly can't achieve it otherwise, making physical activity really annoying. If I want to go running, I have to frequently stop to yawn.

There is no apparent airway constriction in me, no wheezing, no coughing at any point. Air seems to travel smoothly and quietly in and out, the problem seems structural. Something inside, deeper, is wrong.

There is no pain associated with this, just a constantly feeling like there's somehow not enough room inside me, or I am being squeezed somehow. Something is gripping me. Typically, trying hard to get a deeper breath results in a reaction as I breath out where something squeezes even tighter for a few moments up high/center/center right in my chest.

Doctors have never been able to solve it. When I first started experiencing this, years ago, I went through a gauntlet of tests. Initially doctors gave me inhalers and stuff which did nothing (this was very reactive on their part, they didn't really dig very deep and just kinda said "try this"). I later had a pulmonary function study which showed my lung capacity as excellent. Early on I had a heart stress test -- With the treadmill and echo - which showed my heart as being in good standing. (It should be noted that it's been over 10 years since these tests, and my symptoms have become worse, so I'd be open to revisiting -and heart may be my next avenue of pursuit)

Any routine examination shows nothing. X-rays have shown nothing, a CT scan of my abdomen showed nothing but gallstones (I later had my gallbladder removed on the hope that this was the culprit, and it had no effect). If you check my oxygen levels they're always fine.

I went to an alternative doctor who explored the idea of some kind of hiatal hernia, but that seemed to be a dead end, as all of his massages and pushing and pulling and so on didn't address the issue.

I'm of a healthy weight and generally healthy by any normal standard, but I just know I'm being gripped all of the time, physically, mechanically, something is wrong. Some days it is worse than others, but it is always there. It's like there's a knot inside my abdomen. On a bad day, I can be up all night because the tightness is so bad, and laying down makes it worse. As I type this it's 11am, I was up all night pacing because the symptoms stopped me from sleeping.

I've considered that perhaps it could be gastric related, but it seems unlikely due to the fact that I have no heartburn at any point, no difficulty swallowing, no indigestion of any kind, all of which are things that would almost certainly be associated with something like acid reflux disease.

The physical, mechanical tightness and difficulty achieving a satisfying breath is so real and so pronounced that I can't believe there's no way to diagnose it.

This problem inhibits my lifestyle greatly and I fear I'll live out my days on earth and never know what the thing was that ruined my life. I am hoping someone can toss me some idea, some avenue to consider. I'm willing to consider anything at this point.





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