I'm new here, and I would be very pleased if anyone can help me with
some advice. I was diagnosed by a Rheumatologist 2 yrs ago with Fibromyalgia triggered by my autoimmune thyroid disease (Hashimoto's).
I have chronic pain all the time in the muscles in the diaphragm, and intermittent muscle spasms that run from my diaphragm up my chest and my back. This restricts my breathing and has caused me to develop quite severe asthma.
None of the several doctors and complementary therapists I have seen have been able to provide me with any relief from the pain. I am unable to take any opioid-related painkillers because of the asthma, so am restricted to taking paracetamol which has little effect. The only thing that helps relieve the muscle spasms is salbuterol which I take for the asthma.
Some drugs I was prescribed gave me bad side effects (e.g. very low dose amitryptiline, and also low dose diazepam), and I was unable to continue with them.
I have been taking a variety of supplements for the past 18 mths, including magnesium, calcium & vit D.
If there is anyone with this same kind of diaphragm pain, I would be pleased to hear from them, and to know whether they have found any treatments or supplements helpful.
Welcome. With the problems you have you might want to try a massage and have them do myofascial release. Even though it hurts I like deep tissue massage to release trigger points. You'll feel lots better when these are loose. When I have them in my ribcage and between my shoulders it is hard for me to breathe, breaking these knots helps me.
Hi DBS ~ thank you for your reply. I have recently completed 6 sessions of Trigger Point (TP) Therapy with myofascial release. Perhaps the therapist was not very good I don't know (though her fees were expensive!), but in the final session she gently massaged my diaphragm and the pain was almost unbearable. The knock-on effect was it caused me such bad respiratory problems I was unable breathe lying down, and had to sleep in a chair for 2 nights afterwards. The pain took about 3 weeks to settle. I figured it could not be the right treatment for me if it caused such bad effects. Certainly I felt no better for the six sessions, just much poorer!
I have tried to find another TP therapist within 30 miles of me but had no success so far. For the present I have returned to my old massage therapist, who has treated me, on and off, for 3 years. She does not do TP therapy or myofascial, but her massages are super-relaxing, so very pleasant, though it does not help the pain in my diaphragm.
I am sorry that the massage with TP didn't help but instead made you feel worse. That is one thing that I still haven't tried, money is tight right now so it will have to wait. I love my regular massage lady, I agree, it is so relaxing to have just a plain old massage but it doesn't get at the real nasty pain. Have you tried accupuncture, it has helped me a ton in the past, after a session I would go home and collapse for the rest of the day and part of the next but then like the sun coming out from the clouds I would have less pain and more energy. Only catch it had to be done every week or I would lose the cummulative effect. I am unable to do chiropractic treatments, the pain from the treatment would finally subside only to have to go back in again because everything was out of wack again, vicious circle I took myself out of.
Each of us is different and responds differently to different treatments, if I could recommend anything maybe try TP with someone else, spread out treatments more, or give something else a try-accupuncture is even covered under some insurance plans if you would like to try it, very relaxing, like a massage.
Hope you are feeling better and find something that eases your pain!
Just remembered I have also seen an osteopath (D.O.) and that was helpful too.
I hope you can find someone that can do beneficial massage on you little bits at a time. Has anyone ever used moist heat on you before massages? Man, I can't imagine how that hurts. Just the now and then for me is bad enough. It makes you panic when you can't breathe and I think might make you knot up worse. If you can find someone that does myofascial release they will go and do it in baby steps, after the moist heat. I know that massages are expensive and most insurances in the US don't want to cover it as they think it's a luxury. Yeah right!!!!!!! Anything to get out of covering anything. Just about anywhere you look in the phone book around here does TP and myofascial release, they're all over here. There's a massage school about 30 minutes from me, it's a little cheaper.
Try this, it's by a doctor. Lie on your back as comfortable as you can. Put a hand right below your navel so you'll know what's going on. Don't have tight clothes on. Take a deep breath through your nose and hold it for a few moments.
Let your breath out slowly through your nose. When you think you've blown the stale air out open your mouth and expel the rest of it. (You'd be surprised that there's still air left to get out.)
Practice doing this every now and then to strengthen your diaphram. Not using your diaphram right when you breath causes your body to tense and makes you breath shallow. When you shallow breath you aren't getting rid of the stagnent air in your lungs. Breathing from the belly, diaphram, brings in oxygen to your body and helps get rid of waste gases. By mindfully learning to breathe correctly it'll help you relax more and relieve anxiety that it creates. Watch the hand on your belly, it should be going up and down. Pain caused you to learn the shallow breathing, so you have to reteach you how to breathe correctly again. That's why when a PT is massaging you they remind you to breathe.......!
Look up serratus anterior, obliques and pectoral muscles. Trigger points and their referred pain patterns in these areas cause the problems that you are having. There are books out there with guides that will show you exactly where they are. I have one and use it all of the time.
Hope this helps a bit. Sometimes we have to go through some bad times to get fixed and back to the good ones.
so glad i came across this, too drained to type, will elaborate later, but you helped me realize some of my symptoms. chest pain, labored breathing, all related somehow. brain is scrambled so i will give my story later
Coolbunny did the doctor name the diaphragm pain? I get my cramps spasms whatever they are there too it really freaks me out l try to ignore it but its hard to completely block it out considering our hearts are close by!! and other times its that bad although it dont seem to last for long you cant ignore it. I guess l get a little air hunger from time to time and l also have graves disease and when they took my thyroid out it was very very inflammed so the surgeon tells me. Im waffling now! Look forward to hearing more form you x
Now that I'm "with it" somewhat, I can elaborate a bit, though I will try to keep this concise. I am extremely concerned for you all about this symptom, because like niecsey said, it does hit a lil' close to "home".
I have been "diagnosed" (written-off is the term I'd like to use) with costochondritis, so I am very familiar with the symptoms of costo. This, though was a different animal altogether.
From what I understand, and I have not had a professional confirm this, it could be what is called a "hiatal hernia", at least in my case. Not sure if thats what it is, but my personal symptoms include extreme "shock" type sensations in my chest, especially when laying down at night-time. There were many nights I thought I was cooked!
What developed shortly after that was an extreme shortness of breath. I've never had any sort of asthma-related symptoms before, but these very much went hand-in-hand. It seems like my nasal passage becomes overly inflammated. Worse is that the inflammation seems to follow down through to my chest, so that breathing through the mouth brings no relief. Many times I was scared out of my mind just to go to bed, for the fear that I would stop breathing. Couple that with the "shocks" in my chest, and you have one worried customer.
What worried me further is that all of this seemed to have been started by an infection I developed from a pilonidal cyst (UGH!). I feared that a virus had infiltrated my system. Cyst has gone away and flared up a few times, bringing infection with it.
Though it isn't a complete relief from the symptoms, I am glad to hear that this all may not be a heart-related problem. I won't take it lightly, because not being able to breathe is relatively new to me, and no picnic. I was unaware that these symptoms could coincide with one another. I am very thankful I came across this information, and my best wishes go out to anyone who also experiences these same symptoms.
Hope your doing better now SD! hows the costo? I have a friend who has costo her symptoms are similar to mine but she gets very very breathless were as l dont. She doesnt describe the sternum pain like some of us here do she tends to get it at the top of her chest and inbetween breast area one hospital doc said to her middle aged over weight woman as the diagnosis!! The cheek! She went mad well she aint a quitter and shes very loud and forward so she persisted till she got the costo and fibro diagnosed. I think any chest pain should be checked out and lm not surprised the shocks you were getting had you scared to go to bed!! hoep your feeling better and more secure now take care
Coolbunny did the doctor name the diaphragm pain? I get my cramps spasms whatever they are there too it really freaks me out
Niecsy ~ the rheumatologist named the diaphragm pain as part of Fibromyalgia. She said in my case it is not Costochondritis, as it is too low for that, being across the diaphragm and not in the intercostal muscles.
She was useless at offering any ideas as to cause, and how to treat it, other than with paracetomol, which does little in my case.
Hi SD ~ I defintely do not have a hiatal hernia, all that kind of thing has been ruled out by MRI scan 2 yrs ago. All my organs are normal.
Your symptoms sound very unpleasant , and I can understand you being worried. But it should be easy enough to tell whether they are due to a h/hernia, by you having an u/sound scan or an MRI scan. Also, if it is a hernia I believe you would have gastric reflux, and your symptoms would respond to taking proton pump inhibitor medication such as Nexium.
Hi SD ~ the breathing technique you mention is very like the "Bowen Technique" that I was taught by my massage therapist. Trouble is I am unable to do it most of the time because my diaphragm muscles just will not move - they are solidly fixed rigid, and no amount of exhaling or relaxation will release them. The Trigger Point Therapist I was seeing said this rigidity is typical of muscle 'adhesions', which cause the muscles to lose their flexibility. She tried to treat the problem by gently massaging my diaphragm, but her treatment made the problem much worse, increased the pain tenfold, and gave me such severe breathing problems that I was unable to lie down to sleep for 2 nights and had to sleep in a chair in order to breathe. Not fun. So I stopped seeing that therapist, as the treatment was counterproductive..
Last edited by coolbunny; 11-01-2008 at 12:05 PM.
thanks for the reply. Mine tends to be in the sternum area then sometimes under my left collar bone and sometimes inbetween breasts. Sometimes when l have it sternum area l aslo have it down both sides of inner ribs across my stomach. I take the paracetemo; too and use a heat pad l dont think it helps too much and l try to stay out of positions which will trigger it off. I HATE IT SO MUCH!!! it is so disabling!!!
Hi Niecesy ~ I agree it is a very disabling condition -- it has put more of a blight on my life than all my other health problems put together.
I am thinking of having some treatment from a Trager therapist. I would put up a link for you, but the rules on this Board forbid posting links to outside sources. But you can find it by googling Trager anyway.It is a kind of massage that helps release trapped emotions. The Trager view is that unresolved pain issues (where there is no apparent organic cause i.e) are caused by 'blocked' or 'unprocessed' feelings. In my case I know this could be true as I had a number of traumatic things happen to me one after another over a 5 year period before I became ill, and I feel I have never processed them properly.
The other thing is that when a person has thyroid disease, (not sure if you said whether you do or not?) there can be damage to the phrenic nerve, which can cause pain in the diaphragm, then breathing problems and asthma can develop. This is the view of the excellent Dr John C. Lowe, whose articles you may have read online.