- Bad Breathing Habits
We tend to think of inhalation and exhalation as something we do naturally. But believe it or not, you might be breathing incorrectly at this very moment. Your body can learn bad breathing habits that can keep your respiratory system from working the way it should. If you habitually hold your breath, breathe shallowly, or don’t make good use of your diaphragm, the muscles on which your body naturally relies to breathe properly could become weaker over time. While it can be tough to break these patterns, it definitely is possible — and recommended — that you do so. Meditation and practices like yoga can help you tune in to your body and “reset” your breathing, and there are also physical exercises you can do to improve your lung capacity and overall strength.
- Anxiety or Stress
Americans seem to be more stressed out than ever before. While that tends to take a toll on us emotionally and mentally, it can also have negative effects on us physically. That “fight or flight” response the body experiences when under strain often manifests itself into symptoms like breathing difficulties and even chest pain. Unfortunately, you may not even know your symptoms are linked to your feelings of stress or anxiety at first. Panic attacks, while not life-threatening, can be very frightening. Natural means of stress relief (like exercise, spending time in nature, and other self-care methods) and therapy for anxiety may help you to reduce the frequency and severity of these symptoms and show you where you may need to make some changes in your life.
- Myofascial Pain Syndrome
Some people who suffer from this musculoskeletal condition say that they sometimes experience breathing difficulties along with their pain. Many people with MPS experience strange symptoms or side effects that may seem unrelated to their condition. One study conducted in the mid-1990s found that MPS patients who reported shortness of breath and neck pain were alleviated of both symptoms when their pain trigger points were inactivated with acupuncture needles. Other MPS patients experience relief when they pursue trigger point therapy, increase their exercise, or change their diets. Shortness of breath associated with this condition certainly isn’t fatal and can be relieved, but it’s important that patients seek out medical assistance for these breathing difficulties.
More than 70% of ER visits involving patients with consumer-sponsored insurance coverage are for non-emergency or preventable conditions, so it makes sense that not every case involving breathing conditions needs to involve a visit to the ER. That said, you should never take a gamble with your health. Unless you know for certain that you suffer from one of the aforementioned health conditions and that your shortness of breath is a direct result of that condition, it’s recommended that you seek out urgent medical treatment right away.