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Rib Cramping

I was sitting in church. This was about 5 years before they told me I had stage 3 COPD. I believe I had COPD back then, I just had not gone to a doctor to find out. My dad passed away with COPD. Back to my story. I was sitting in church and all of a sudden I doubled over with the worst squeezing pain in my chest. It felt like someone was taking my lung on the left side and squeezing it real hard or the muscle around my lung. I don’t know, I just know the pain was terrible. Well, everyone near me saw me double over and thought I was having a heart attack. At first I sort of thought the same thing. But, it didn’t last very long. Still I knew it was not gas – not the way it hurt or felt. This was a squeeze and pain. Like it was smothering me. Well, my husband said he was taking me to the ER to have me checked out. After several test they found nothing wrong with me. SURPRISE! The doctor said it was probably just gas pains. I am here to tell you THAT WAS NOT GAS PAINS. I have had these same squeezing problems several times now both before they said I had COPD and since they told me. I still don’t know what is causing them. Maybe muscle spasms, perhaps nerve damage, no one seems to know. However, after reading about rib cramping I am so happy to just know others with COPD are having some type of this same problem. I am not crazy after all lolol. Once I just calm down, lay down and rest, the pain and squeezing leaves till the next time. I sure wish they could find out what is causing this because I don’t enjoy that pain.

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  • floridatwigs
    2 years ago

    i have had the same experience as you. I’m stage 4. it’s a real scare having these.

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi again, floridatwigs, and we hear you! In view of your concerns (related to this article on rib cramping), I thought you might find it helpful to look over this material on that very topic:
    Leon (site moderator)

  • uptowngrl55
    2 years ago

    I just start doing windmills with my arms & it subsides

  • suzannebigras
    2 years ago

    I am sorry for your extreme discomfort that you experience. I can relate to it because i get these weird pains. With my issues I rarely know what is acting up so I investigate. What’s the weather doing ,pressure,moisture etc. What I ate and air quality. These all affect my copd but I also now have extreme anxiety due to mis-diagnosis that at times when I am in the grip of my issues I get confused then panic sets in and I can set off a panic attack that makes it all worse.
    If I can remember to breath slowly and with focus then my pain and other symptoms seem to reduce. I was just hospitalized for an episode.
    Super scary and I left feeling untreated. No explanation for what happened.
    I am just finding out about COPD.
    I see now why they don’t think it’s my heart, even though I have had a heart attack and have low EF and GERD.
    I can add the chest pain and squeezing feeling to my COPD symptoms. A relief in a way.
    Sending a not too tight hug

  • Allyson.Ellis moderator
    2 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your story with the community, carolcole! That sounds like horribly uncomfortable pain! I’m so sorry you go through those episodes periodically. I’m glad you are feeling less alone with others having shared about rib cramping. It’s great you have found what works for you manage while the “squeezing” lasts. I, too, hope with the growing research around COPD in the medical community that an answer can be found for why these squeezing, cramping pains occur and what could be done to ease them. Best, Allyson (site moderator)

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