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Question Advice on shortness of breath

cabursn

New Member
Feb 24, 2021
3
0
1
36
Hi everyone,

Im new here and in a bad situation and would appreciate any advice you can give. I fully recognize that I should've sought out a professional teacher, but because of covid it wasnt an option for me.

Around a month ago, I decided to try to improve my breath hold for surfing, and started considering learning to free dive. I downloaded some breath training apps like ApneaTrainer etc.

I did that for a few days. One day I think I may have overdone it. I went for an "apnea walk", then got home and did one of the CO2 training tables.

Immediately after that, my voice sounded different, and I couldn't catch my breath. I haven't really caught my breath ever since. It feels like your lungs wont fill up fully, so youre always struggling to breathe and feeling like youre not getting enough oxygen.

I did several medical exams. My lungs are fine on x ray and CT scans, and my oxygen is also fine. I do have esophagitis and there is some linkage between that and shortness of breath, so that could be the culprit. I am speaking to doctors about this as well, as im sure you were wondering.

So my main question is: have any of you ever experienced anything like this? I would greatly appreciate any information you have on what this could be.

Thanks in advance
 

musubi

Member
Feb 9, 2017
37
19
23
38
Hi everyone,

Im new here and in a bad situation and would appreciate any advice you can give. I fully recognize that I should've sought out a professional teacher, but because of covid it wasnt an option for me.

Around a month ago, I decided to try to improve my breath hold for surfing, and started considering learning to free dive. I downloaded some breath training apps like ApneaTrainer etc.

I did that for a few days. One day I think I may have overdone it. I went for an "apnea walk", then got home and did one of the CO2 training tables.

Immediately after that, my voice sounded different, and I couldn't catch my breath. I haven't really caught my breath ever since. It feels like your lungs wont fill up fully, so youre always struggling to breathe and feeling like youre not getting enough oxygen.

I did several medical exams. My lungs are fine on x ray and CT scans, and my oxygen is also fine. I do have esophagitis and there is some linkage between that and shortness of breath, so that could be the culprit. I am speaking to doctors about this as well, as im sure you were wondering.

So my main question is: have any of you ever experienced anything like this? I would greatly appreciate any information you have on what this could be.

Thanks in advance
Was the esophagitis diagnosed after experiencing your issue, or have you always been affected by it? Does it hurt to take a full breath? Are you now having to breath faster after what's happened to you?
 

cabursn

New Member
Feb 24, 2021
3
0
1
36
Was the esophagitis diagnosed after experiencing your issue, or have you always been affected by it? Does it hurt to take a full breath? Are you now having to breath faster after what's happened to you?
Thanks for your response @musubi . I've had esophagitis off and on for years because of acid reflux. for the first few weeks, it did hurt sometimes when i took a full breath. A sharp pain, and sometimes would persist around the middle of the chest. I dont know if im breathing faster, but i've been sighing and yawning a lot as a result of trying to catch my breath.

Anxiety is definitely part of the reason for me due to personal stuff going on. But since it started right after the breath hold exercises, i thought id reach out here to see if anyone has experienced something similar.
 

podenco

Active Member
Apr 23, 2012
17
4
43
Hi everyone,

Im new here and in a bad situation and would appreciate any advice you can give. I fully recognize that I should've sought out a professional teacher, but because of covid it wasnt an option for me.

Around a month ago, I decided to try to improve my breath hold for surfing, and started considering learning to free dive. I downloaded some breath training apps like ApneaTrainer etc.

I did that for a few days. One day I think I may have overdone it. I went for an "apnea walk", then got home and did one of the CO2 training tables.

Immediately after that, my voice sounded different, and I couldn't catch my breath. I haven't really caught my breath ever since. It feels like your lungs wont fill up fully, so youre always struggling to breathe and feeling like youre not getting enough oxygen.

I did several medical exams. My lungs are fine on x ray and CT scans, and my oxygen is also fine. I do have esophagitis and there is some linkage between that and shortness of breath, so that could be the culprit. I am speaking to doctors about this as well, as im sure you were wondering.

So my main question is: have any of you ever experienced anything like this? I would greatly appreciate any information you have on what this could be.

Thanks in advance
Hello cabursn,
I use to practice spearfishing, and some years ago a tried to do some apneawalks to improve my bottom time without the need to go to the sea, after doing several sessions of these dry this exercises I started to experience chest discomfort, so I had to stop. In the water I never experienced that, maybe because of the diving reflex the muscles relax, I don´t know. Also, a few years ago I injured a back muscle doing some chest stretches, wich caused me constant chest discomfort, back and chest pain and shortness of breath, and a lot of sternum popping, during almost two years ( I don´t wish to anyone, I couldn´t do exercise, impossible to dive below 2 meter because my diaphragm got so tight that the water pressure was unbereable, and even try to study or relax was impossible because of the pain and the discomfort of breathing problems) All the medical tests were fine, I received some diagnoses, as for example chronic pain, finally a quiropractor told me that my dorsal spine was very rigid and that this was causing me all these problems because the ribs and everything got tight, so after many adjustments I got some mobility, but the person who I think that gave me the right diagnose was a physioterapist who noticed muscle knots in my rhomboid muscles, he told me that he has seen people experiencing shortness of breath because of this, so he helped me a lot trying to removed the knots. But the most importante thing was trying to introduce the exercise again, very slowly and after many months I got well, I have to be careful (so I know that I can not do sports as bodybuilding, but I can run, cycling, until exhaution, swimming or spearfish again without experiencing chest pressure (unless if I go below 18-20 meters)
I tell all of this because in some cases breathing problems can come from muscular problems, mine I think that comes because when I was a teeneger I used to do a lot of push ups, pull bars etc, and I had to stop because I started to experience chest discomfort in the mornings when I woke up, probably I injured this rhomboid muscle forever, so after doing this apneawalks I awakened the pain, and when doing the stretches I made it bigger, I don´t know.
All the best!
Manuel
 

musubi

Member
Feb 9, 2017
37
19
23
38
Thanks for your response @musubi . I've had esophagitis off and on for years because of acid reflux. for the first few weeks, it did hurt sometimes when i took a full breath. A sharp pain, and sometimes would persist around the middle of the chest. I dont know if im breathing faster, but i've been sighing and yawning a lot as a result of trying to catch my breath.

Anxiety is definitely part of the reason for me due to personal stuff going on. But since it started right after the breath hold exercises, i thought id reach out here to see if anyone has experienced something similar.
That's a tough one. I haven't experienced anything similar to that. Are you unable to hold your breath as long as you used to? Not sure if that's a good idea or not, but thought I'd ask. I'm also curious if you're still able to take in a normal volume of air, or if it's decreased since the incident. I can only think that it's related to your esophagitis (which you already suspect), that the oxygen exchange rate has changed, and/or your muscles are being affected. Have you freedove since the incident? Have you been able to control the acid reflux through OTC or prescription meds?
Hopefully others will chime in with help.
 

cabursn

New Member
Feb 24, 2021
3
0
1
36
Thank you both for the replies. Thankfully i've felt some improvement over the last week and and very thankful for that.

@podenco that is very interesting information. Sorry to hear you've dealt with that. It does seem plausible in my case as well since i have a lot of back pains from working in bad positions and from surfing. The pain is in the upper back, in the spine and right where the rhomboids are as well. So i'll definitely investigate it further and try to go to a physical therapist or chiropractor. Can you tell me what exactly was the treatment they did on you to improve it?

@musubi yeah it's definitely a tricky one, with no clear diagnosis. I haven't tried to hold my breath for fear it would worsen my symptoms. I have noticed that when i talk a lot, the shortness of breath worsens. So i do suspect there's something physical going on as well as the anxiety. It's interesting as well that when i drink coffee or dairy first thing in the morning, it also worsens, so more evidence for the esophagitis.

Thanks again for your input, will keep taking it easy here to try to maintain the improvements ive felt in the last week. Cheers
 

podenco

Active Member
Apr 23, 2012
17
4
43
Thank you both for the replies. Thankfully i've felt some improvement over the last week and and very thankful for that.

@podenco that is very interesting information. Sorry to hear you've dealt with that. It does seem plausible in my case as well since i have a lot of back pains from working in bad positions and from surfing. The pain is in the upper back, in the spine and right where the rhomboids are as well. So i'll definitely investigate it further and try to go to a physical therapist or chiropractor. Can you tell me what exactly was the treatment they did on you to improve it?

@musubi yeah it's definitely a tricky one, with no clear diagnosis. I haven't tried to hold my breath for fear it would worsen my symptoms. I have noticed that when i talk a lot, the shortness of breath worsens. So i do suspect there's something physical going on as well as the anxiety. It's interesting as well that when i drink coffee or dairy first thing in the morning, it also worsens, so more evidence for the esophagitis.

Thanks again for your input, will keep taking it easy here to try to maintain the improvements ive felt in the last week. Cheers
Hello Cabursn, no problem, thanks god I recovered, having a problem that after more than a year doesn´t go away and even worsens, and not obtaining a solution from the healthcare system is very frustrating, the body is a complex machine and everything is connected, and unfortunately doctors can not always find the cause of a problem, specially with things as muscular issues, anyway when there is a problem with a lung or other vital organ that causes symptoms I think that they find the problem easily. If you tell me thath you have this kind of pains in your upper back there is a big chance that this is the cause of the issue, in my case, apart from the chronic pain, the thing that bothered me the most was the breathing problems, it was like breathing with a corset, and very often I had the sensation of having asthma (I had some asthma in my childhood), but when the doctor listened to me he said that lungs were cleared, no asthma, so is interesting how the diaphragm and other muscles when they get tight and not move properly can mimic asthma symptoms.

Regarding to the treatment, first of all doctors performed many tests (blood tests, electrocardiogram, x-rays, an mri scan of my back) and the only finding was a bit of osteoarthritis in my middle back, something normal for my age (34) they said. A year later I made an effort test, and also I had a mri of my chest, everything fine. During all these time I also visited, several physios they found that my diaphragm was tight, and performed some diaphragm massages and back massages, but no improvement, even some of them said that I had anxiety. I visited two accupunturist too, and same results. Other doctors said that I had costochondritis, and because of that I bought the backpod, a physio from New Zealand invented this device for treating this problem, but for me was useless and made thinks worse. One doctor specialized in sport medicine told me that I had chronic pain, and that I would live with that forever, her only solution was taking clonazepam, this drug helped me with the pain because relaxes the muscles, but after some time taking it losses eficacy, and also helps to sleep, and also is very addictive and difficult to stop taking it. So I don´t recommend to solve a pain problem with this kind of drugs, first of all because they don´t solve anything, I took it daily for a year.
Regarding to the quiropractor, when she saw me she inmediately gave me a diagnose, as I told you in my previous message, the treatment consisted in freeing up the dorsal spine, with spine manipulations, sometimes right after having a manipulation a could breath better, and after three months of sessions (two sessions per week at the begging, and later is one per week) I improved a lot, but I arrived to one point that I had no improvement, and sometimes after a manipulation I felt worse. But a least I could ride a bit my bike without feeling terrible after that, and breathing a bit better, also a physio of the hospital saw me and found this knots in my rhomboid, and said that this was the origing of everything, he massaged me the area and also used the needles to release the muscle knots (they punture the knot and the muscle frees up), i found the needle treatment very effective, so after a month with him I improved even more, and I could do more exercise, with discomfort, and not breathing perfect but I could exercise, and after more months I got well and no problems with sport, and now I can sit down and write again in my computer without being in pain, so I am very happy!

So I recommed you to go to a good physio or a quiropractor, if they are good they can find muscle knots and see how they spine moves, and also can see how tight is your diaphragm, most doctors can not see all of that. But my best advice is not to stop moving and exercising, one you stop for fear of the pain or to get worse, the muscles can get even tighter, and also don´t do dry apneas if they hurt you, in my opinion I think that is the most unnatural exercise to do, the apnea underwater is natural and makes you feel good and relax, holding your breath on land, at least in my case was uncomfortable and also hurted me.
Good look, and I´m sure that you will be perfect soon!
 

grarena

Active Member
Jan 19, 2019
103
29
43
64
Sounds like it’s esophagitis and anxiety both. I think if you can get the esophageal problems under control you will be fine. It’s not lungs so you know it’s not really a problem that could impede you. Good luck. The voice thing is definitely related to esophagus
 

kociubin

Member
Aug 19, 2019
16
5
18
43
Do you mostly breathe through your mouth by any chance? Some of what you wrote (e.g. constant breathlessness, things being worse while talking, etc) made me think of Patrick McKeown's book Oxygen Advantage. His book and practice are all about teaching people to breathe properly through the nose in order to relieve anxiety, breathlessness and to improve sports performance. If this sounds relevant you can find a lot of his stuff on YouTube (search fo Patrick McKeown). His TED talk is pretty good.
 

DiverC

Member
Aug 3, 2018
15
9
18
Since your health coverage included some tests, what about adding an EKG and a simple heart exam. I mention this because dyspnea (shortness of breath) can be traced back to either lung problems or heart problems, occasionally both. I'll assume you are a millennial or a little older. It's probably not cardiac, but it could be if you had a previously undiagnosed murmur etc. and didn't know you had it. In that case the stress of free diving could bring it out. It might be wise to rule this out.
 
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