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Can shortness of breath cause diaphragm strain?

Can shortness of breath/heavy breathing cause diaphragm strain/sprain?

I often have severe tightness below my ribs (more pressure than pain). It is sometimes oppressive and causes me to walk leaning forward. My doctors shrug their shoulders and have no answers.

  1. Thank you for your reply Lynnilene, My pulminologist will be tired by the time he has finished my consultation, I have so many questions as I have not been seen by one before. Although I do believe that my lung function test results done will give me more idea of why I am so uncomfortable. It is such a waiting game, but I have ti be infection clear for a certain length of time so it has been delayed, and my nurse cannot refer me to pulminologist until she as done the test as you may well be aware.

    1. Susanmarie. Good that you have your questions prepared! I hope your appt. Wed. was informative. Have you had the Pulmonary Function tests yet?

    2. Hi Lynnilene. No not had it yet, had a bit of a bad spell and back on more steroids, my doctor is reffering me to pulmonary rehabilitation, so i will have more support in manageing my bteathing control etc, i return in 3wks to see if my right lung ready for my function test and flu and pneumonia jabs, thank you for asking .

  2. Thank you Allyson. I have gone to the link that you provided, it has given me more insight into my symptoms. I have an appointment with my lung specialist nurse on wed, I will, hopefully, be given some answers to my questions on my condition. Once again, thank you

    1. Hi Lynnilene and thanks for your post. Besides the references that Allyson provided you with, I thought you also might find it helpful to look over this material on COPD and posture: This may provide you with a bit more insight for your concerns.
      All the best,
      Leon (site moderator)

      1. Thank you for this link Leon, it was very helpful.

      2. It's my pleasure, Susanmarie. I'm so glad to hear you've found the information to be so helpful. It's why we're all here!
        All the best,
        Leon (site moderator)

    2. Lynnilene, thank you for reaching out and talking about your pain in the rib/diaphragm area. It must be so difficult to walk hunched over. Rib cramping with COPD is still a growing area of research in the medical community. However, it has been a source of many comments from members, so know you are not alone in your experience! We have two articles relating to rib pain that were published on the site that you might find useful: and

      I hope this helps you a bit! Please let us know if we can be of further assistance! I am glad you are part of the community!

      Allyson (site moderator)

      1. Susanmarie, we cannot provide a medical diagnosis or specific medical advice over the internet (for you own safety). You may want to look at the article on COPD and posture that Leon shared above, which may give you some insight into what you are experiencing. I would encourage you to mention this symptom to your doctor and see if s/he has any treatment recommendations for you! ~Allyson ( team)

      2. Not diagnosing, just making an observation. We use our chest/rib muscles when we breathe. In labored breathing, we may put more strain on those muscles. ( and cold air can influence our breathing) My Pulmonologist and GP Dr.s can give me no answer. I am now looking into bodywork/therapy...for someone to work on my muscles.
        Do let us know if your Pulmonologist/lung Dr. has any answers about your muscle pain.

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