View Full Version : 'stuck' lungs feeling...who can relate to this?

Little Ali
3rd June 2009, 06:12 PM
Hi everyone,

This thread doesn't really have much point to it, other than a whinge and finding others who can empathise as I'm pretty sure I know what the cause is.

When I take a deep breath in, I sometimes feel as if the air is stuck in my lungs as it's hard to breath out. I feel like they're stuck around my ribs and the air kinda releases in bursts rather than one flowing breath out.

Does this make sense and who can relate? It was happening to me before my last fusion but now it's come back :nut:

3rd June 2009, 08:34 PM

That sounds horrible. I don't have that sort of issue with my breathing but I do go through long periods where I feel like I can't draw a full breath and I'm constantly yawning to draw more air into my lungs so I can sort of relate to how nasty it is to have issues with breathing. It's like having a cold/blocked nose with hayfever; you don't notice how nice it is to breathe deeply and properly until something stops you doing it.

Do you know if it's related to your kyphosis or anything, have you had lung function tests and all that jazz?

Little Ali
3rd June 2009, 09:00 PM
I think it is related to the kyphosis/scoliosis because it's better if I lean backwards so 'unravel' my spine. Mr. Tucker asked me about it too without me saying anything so I'd say it is.

I haven't had lung function tests since just before my last fusion.

3rd June 2009, 11:35 PM
I think it is related to the kyphosis/scoliosis because it's better if I lean backwards so 'unravel' my spine. Mr. Tucker asked me about it too without me saying anything so I'd say it is.

I haven't had lung function tests since just before my last fusion.

I wonder if a test would do any good or whether they'd just state the obvious and send you on your way. Hmmm. I don't know much about things like diaphragm function tests or whether they can check for specific causes. Have you mentioned it to the physio?

Little Ali
3rd June 2009, 11:43 PM
Yeah, that's why I've not been to the dr or anything cos they'd just tell me what I already know. Seems a bit of a waste of time really.

I mentioned the physio that I feel breathless when I've eaten but I might tell him. Not sure there's anything he can do but he might say something useful...maybe!

3rd June 2009, 11:54 PM
Sometimes when I breathe in, I get like a sharp pain in my lungs, and I can't breathe in any more because its too painful, but the only way to actually get rid of it is to breathe right through it and then usually it goes. Not pleasant :(

4th June 2009, 01:05 PM
I do go through long periods where I feel like I can't draw a full breath and I'm constantly yawning to draw more air into my lungs

Gosh I can totally relate to that!
I thought if I mentioned it to the GP he would tell me it was stress so I never have.
I find myself deliberately trying to yawn so I can pull more breath into my lungs.I must admit though the more I try to take a deep breath the more I cant!
When I do take a deep breath I get a stabbing pain in my ribs where my scoliosis is pushing them out so it must be that thats causing the problem.

4th June 2009, 02:17 PM
I can relate to all of the above!

My Spine specialist, categorically states that my scoliosis is not interfereing with my lung function. The respiratory specialist says nothing wrong with my lungs!
A constriction was noted by the Asthma nurse at the GP surgery, my GP thought my case very interesting and strange! Don't you just love them all! :)
I just keep saying 'all very interesting but I would love to be able to breathe'.
I am being treated as though I have asthma which annoys me, as I hate taking any drugs I don't have to.
They seem to think that is enough!

Sorry rant over it's been a bad week! been sooooo frustrated.

GP at least honest enough to admit he knows very little about Scoliosis, but wouldn't you think he would find a bit out as he has at least one patient with it.

4th June 2009, 02:54 PM
I can totally relate to the yawning thing. I thought it was just me but obviously its the scoliosis. I also sometimes get sharp pain when I breathe and the only way to get rid of it is to take a very deep breath!

4th June 2009, 05:23 PM
When I first moved to Swindon and was already on the waiting list for my revision surgery, I asked to be referred for lung function testing to ensure there would be no surprises with surgery, because I was having some issues with breathing adequately.

Because my primary curve is thoracolumbar and moderate not massive, the spine guys all say that it cannot affect my breathing. The respiratory guy (who was an arrogant twit) told me that scoliosis cannot affect breathing at all, and when I dragged out statistics and showed that I knew what I was talking about on this agreed that actually yes it can, but then insisted that it never affects the lung function of anyone in the modern, western world because it is treated before it can ever get to that stage and that people never need oxygen or other intervention due to scoliosis causing compression! I gave up at that point as I had already found out what I needed to know, which was that my vital capacity was adequate.

The techy however, who actually did all the tests found out that my measured height was nearly 4 inches (at that time, it's now 5 inches) below my arm span, and assessed that given my proportions my armspan was a good indicator of what my actual height should be. So, while my capacity was only slightly low for my measured height, it was significantly lower (although not problematically or dangerously so) for my "actual" height. In addition, there was a test where you breathe in a controlled mixture of gases, hold your breath briefly, and the proportions of gas in the exhalation show how good your oxygen uptake is, which indicates how well you are able to use what lung capacity you have. My uptake was notably poor, and did not match my capacity (which is somewhat low itself of course), which he said made perfect sense - with a thoracolumbar curve, while most of my lungs is not much compressed, the lower bits where much of the oxygen uptake is done *are* compressed. In addition, he reckoned - supporting my suspicion on the matter - that apart from all that, my ability to make full use of my lung function was somewhat compromised by the fact I was keeled off to the left, and severely forward, which put me in a physical position where I was unable to adequately use my diaphragm to inflate my lungs.

So all in all, I don't have serious problems (although having keeled over so that my ribs are trying to get into my pelvis again, I'm noticing a lot more shortness of breath suddenly), it definitely has affected my breathing, and the sagittal imbalance (the forward curvature) is the biggest issue with this because of the diaphragmatic problems it causes, so I'm sure the same holds true for many others too.

4th June 2009, 10:05 PM
This is an interesing thread Ali,
When I had my costoplasy I felt quite often that my lungs would kind of catch on my ribs, and this went on for years, and sometimes still does feel like this. A few years after this I was told by a GP that I had asthma and had to use inhalers. I kept taking them for years and just recently I said to my new GP that I am sure it's just my lung function due to my scoliosis, and BINGO I am not labelled with asthma any longer (downfall of this is not getting a free flu jab any more). Still I do get the odd chest/lung pains when breathing occassionally which I now know feels like an ectopic pregnancy, where the diagphram is pushed upwards so I suppose what I was thinking is that I'm wonkier now so my diagphram could be in a different position and effect my breathing.
I think i'm rambling so I'll stop before I stop making sense

4th June 2009, 10:27 PM
I was also told that surgery was very unlikely to improve my breathing as it's a thoracolumbar curve and I have asthma, which is a far more likely reason for my problems. However, since surgery I have more than halved the medication I need and have far fewer problems with breathlessness in general, so it must have been having some detrimental effect. :D

5th June 2009, 02:38 PM
Hi Claire - Actually, you don't need a label of asthma to get a free flu jab - the fact that you have an acknowledged obstructive respiratory issue is enough, even if it doesn't actually have a specific name, so do make sure you ask for one this year if you want it!

5th June 2009, 02:41 PM
thanks titch, they are so picky at my surgery and I just accepted it before.

14th June 2009, 11:01 PM
I can sort related to it bit due sometimes feel tight of right side of chest which causes breathe heavier and to day blow ballon for my daughter got out breath but tight was rigth side ribs prude more.

Little Ali
20th June 2009, 08:08 PM

This is getting a bit nasty now :eek: I am going to go the dr but I was sitting watching a dvd with my friend and I felt like my stomach was full of air and I couldn't get rid of it, or draw enough breath to be able to breath properly. I'm not sure whether that makes much sense, but that's how it felt.

I kept wriggling and was bending over to try and relieve it...and I found myself yawning to try and get enough breath.

I was wondering, those of you who have athsma, does this sound familiar?

It does seem that there is some correlation between it happening and me recently haven eaten but maybe I'm aneamic again...I dunno.

I don't really want it to be scoliosis related but we'll see.


20th June 2009, 08:33 PM
It sounds a bit similar to when I had my ectopic pregnancy, as the diaphragm (not sure i spelt that right) was pushed/moved and didn't allow the lungs to inflate properly. I wonder whether the wonky insides could potentially move the diaphragm in a similar way. It was way scary as I didn't feel like I could get any air in or out properly. I would def see someone as it's not right. :squeeze:

20th June 2009, 08:46 PM
Hmm ... I think Claire's diaphragm theory sounds more likely than asthma, it would also fit with your 'stuck lungs' feeling ...

Little Ali
20th June 2009, 09:30 PM
Yeah, I think so too. I just thought I'd ask, just in case.

21st June 2009, 12:11 PM
I don't get this but I hope you feel better with it asap!
Doesn't sound at all nice to experience!! *huggles*
And yeah, deffo see a Dr about it as soon as...
Keep us updated sweetheart, Love ya xx

Little Ali
23rd June 2009, 11:58 AM
I went to the dr (I'm sure he thinks I love going to the dr with the amount of times I go!) and I told him what the problem was.

He looked at me as if to say 'with that posture? You're suprised?' and he said about me being scrunched up and my thorax restricting my lungs and my spine being twisted blah blah blah. He then tested my oxygen levels are they're 100% which is a positive :niceone:

He said he could refer me to the physios at the local hospital for some breathing exercises but the waiting list is weeks. I've been there before when I had carpal tunnel syndrome (I think thoracic outlet syndrome which would make more sense with the scoliosis) and the woman told me to pretend I was being pulled by a hook on the top of my head...so, basically sit up straight!!! :idiot: Well, I would if my core mucles worked and my spine wasn't bent and twisted. Silly cow!! :nut:My point is, I'm not hot on the idea of going to see them!!

I'm gonna ask my physio (the one who's leaving :cry:) for some advice.

I relieved that my oxygen levels are 100% but upset cos I know it's scoliosis related and what needs to be done to help that. :eek: Can't wait to get the postural support though.

Mustang Sal
23rd June 2009, 06:30 PM
I relieved that my oxygen levels are 100% but upset cos I know it's scoliosis related and what needs to be done to help that. :eek: Can't wait to get the postural support though.

That is indeed good news, but like you say, the constricted chest thing is not something that's going to go away easily :squeeze: I really hope your physio can suggest something that will at least ease your symptoms for the time being, and it's not nice what you're having to deal with.

Oh, and grrr at that silly physio telling you to sit up straight! Don't they think that you might have thought of that one yourself if it was at all possible? >:|

23rd June 2009, 09:34 PM
:squeeze: Glad to hear that your sats were good, but then if you werent having the pain and problem when they checked them they wouldn't show a dip. I hope you get some good advice from the physio you already know and don't end up with having to wait for some jumped up, perfectly healthy twerp who thinks the answer is to tell you to sit up straight !!!

Little Ali
25th June 2009, 08:53 PM
Well, I just broke the news to my dad. I hate worrying my parents but I felt I should tell them cos they know I'm worried about something anyway. :hnh:

He's quite practical and calm, my dad. Neither of my parents actually know I went to see Mr. Tucker cos I didn't want to worry them but he understands why I'd want to see another consultant. I feel a bit bad for kind of having gone behind their back.

I feel better having told one of my parents. I always feel I should share stuff with them, even though I'm old enough not to *have* to!

Anyway, I'm waiting on a date for MRI and bone density scans. I'm guessing that's so they can see if there's anything stopping them doing the surgery.

I'll keep you posted!

25th June 2009, 09:24 PM
Hi Ali,
I've had bone scan it painless. all it is substance inject in vein, far while lay falt and run machine from head to toes. Mine was about 7 years back and had few damage joints.
Good luck

Little Ali
25th June 2009, 09:47 PM
That's good to know. Thanks Zoolane :)

Little Ali
30th June 2009, 09:14 PM

Well, I spoke to the physio about it who was holding my ribs and getting me to breath in and out...then asked me to sit further back in my chair, then do it. He said 'yes, it's because of your collapsing ribcage'...I knew that. He said he'd quite like to talk to Mr. Fairbank to see what he thought would happen after the last fusion and what his intention was...but never mind.

I've discovered that if I sit with my bum as far back in my chair as I can, it does relieve it a tiny bit, but it means I can't lean the top of my back on my backrest and my neck and right shoulder hurt.

Anyway, I'll go and buy a lumbar support and see how it helps.

He thinks the postural support wil help but has suggested I go and get a lumbar support to help restore the natural curve of the spine.