Shortness of breath and breathing difficulties in Fibromyalgia

Shortness of breath (dyspnea) and breathing problems are a common symptom in people with fibromyalgia, in fact, it has been reported that more than half of patients with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome develop a pattern of disorders of the breathing.

Respiratory disorders usually cause a wide range of alarming symptoms, including mental confusion, dizziness, irritability, chest pain, numbness and much more.

trouble breathing


shortness of breath There are some theories that try to explain why patients with fibromyalgia feel short of breath, for example:


– There is an abnormality in the brain stem, which could be responsible for dyspnea (this theory is not fully proven)

– The lack of breath could be the result of a lack of regulation of thyroid hormone; This causes weakness of the respiratory muscles, including the diaphragm and the phrenic nerves. What happens is that the nerves do not send sufficiently strong signals to the diaphragm, hindering their ability to contract normally.

-People may experience the feeling of shortness of breath from short breaths.


Unconsciously, many people with fibromyalgia perform rapid and very small breaths using the small muscles of their chest, instead of making a slow, deep breath with the large muscles of the abdomen.

These changes in breathing are due, in large part, to a fear on the part of people to feel more pain. Many of them suffer from pain in the thorax area and avoid deep breathing, because they associate them with an increase in this ailment.

The pain leads to a pattern of shallow breathing, since only the upper part of the chest is enlarged and not the lower abdominal muscles.

These changes are very subtle and most people do not realize that their breathing pattern is out of sync.

What many people do not know, is that performing short breaths can bring other problems as a consequence.

Deep abdominal breathing has a calming effect on the person, in addition to getting the body to receive more oxygen; In contrast, shallow breaths make the individual feel tense and anxious, which tends to worsen their pain from fibromyalgia, not to mention that sleep disorders also worsen.


Screenshot 2013-12-07 at 10.53.21 The reality is that both healthy people with fibromyalgia tend to breathe incorrectly. Deep breathing should cause the stomach to expand outward, and not contract, as most people do.

There are some strategies to start breathing properly, which in turn could help reduce shortness of breath.

Oriental medicines teach that the flow of energy from the body “chi” can be blocked due to inadequate breathing. The practice of Qi Gong could be beneficial for patients with Fibromyalgia with this type of problems, since it consists of techniques and exercises aimed at improving breathing and “chi”.

If a person with Fibromyalgia is feeling pain in their chest, which causes difficulty in breathing deeply, they can apply moist heat on their chest to relax the muscles. You can take a hot bath, go to the tub or a sauna daily, which will help to improve this painful tension in the long term.

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