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Thread: Breathing Isses

  1. #1

    Breathing Isses

    My breathing has been strange for over a year now. Like I can?t get a big enough breath. So I end up taking lots of fast quick breaths. I can take deep breaths but have to force myself.

    I haven't used a belly binder for years, so I tried and it helped a lot. But now it no longer is helping.

    I'm sleepy, get dizzy fast, short of breath. My Oxygen levels are ok, 92-95. Almost like a heavy chest feeling, but I had lots of heart test recently for another reason, everything great.

    It use to be mostly when sitting up all the way, or laying down all the way, but now its always. I?m not sure what kind of doc to see, a lung doc or SCI-rehab doc.

    Anyone else have this issue?
    Brought to you by: atrophied&twitch

  2. #2


    Looking at your profile and previous posts, being C5 and injured in the year of 1982 two thing came to mind from my conversations with my pulmonologists.

    After 36 plus years of being injured you must have had muscle atrophy in the abdomen, chest area and in the neck area which are a big concern with breathing. Next is weight gain. Have you gain a large amount of weight since your injury? Weight gain affects breathing while sitting and supine.

    Do you have problems with "fluid gong down the wrong pipe" syndrome?

    I would see a highly rated pulmonologist that deals with nuromuscular diseases and spinal cord injury patients and get a thorough examine from pulmonologist.

    Find a pulmonologist at a larger hospital or clinic and get breathing tests done before or after visit. Usually I get my breathing test done before I see my pulmonologist so pulmonologist can see the results. They are very simple.

    Have you had a chest X-ray to see if you are having a build up of fluid in your pleural cavity causing pneumothorax which will cause breathing problems and shortness of breath.

    Do you do daily breathing exercises twice a day for 30 minutes?

    Has a doctor ever tell you you have diminished breath sounds?

    Do not see a physiatrist. I found them useless.

    Burst C6 incomplete C7 insufficient respiratory. Injured March 23, 1987.
    Last edited by titanium4motion; 07-12-2018 at 10:51 PM.
    "We must overcome difficulties rather than being overcome by difficulties."

  3. #3
    Agree with the suggestion you see a pulmonologist as soon as you can. I've been on yearly follow up visits since pneumonia about 7 years ago left me with breathing issues.
    The pulmonologist will conduct tests of your breathing, for example, they have me blow into a measuring device, and I have had sleep studies to evaluate breathing while asleep. I have actually turned down an additional sleep study after having three of them, due to accessibility issues - using the high bed, bathroom, etc. I purchased a pulse oximeter with an alarm that I wear on my wrist overnight as I'm on a ventilator for overnight and this lets me monitor my overnight oxygen level (talked my doctor into this idea instead of another dreaded sleep study). With this set-up the wrist watch will alarm if I go below oxygen level 85 - that rarely happens anymore. I'm usually at 96 if I check it during the night. I can set the watch to alarm at the level I want, and it can also be set to alarm at a set level of one's pulse, but I have that setting off.
    Got this device on Amazon for about $160 or so and it's worth every penny to me. Peace of mind.
    Hope you let us know how you do.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Saint Petersburg , Florida
    I'm a c3c4 quad. I saw a sleep doctor and found out I had sleep apnea. He said my diaphragm doesn't work like it should because of my injury. I use a bipap machine when sleeping. I would suggest getting checked out for sleep apnea.

  5. #5
    i too have lung issues i also have sleep apnea and am on o2 at night since i can go as low as 69 while sleeping, i had a followup test with o2 on and i am now pretty steady in the 90's lowest was 92 while on o2 while still not great it is much better than i was and my pulmonologist is ok with it. i cannot tolerate the cpap pressure or mask so we decided on o2 and it is working so far.
    T6 Incomplete due to a Spinal cord infarction July 2009

  6. #6
    Recommend getting pulmonary function tests to see you how your lungs are working. Quadriplegics are at higher risk of low lung capacity, as you age that declines further. How is your sleep? Any waking up or restlessness? If so a sleep study may be needed also to check to see if you stop breathing while you sleep.

    best of luck -keep us posted

    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

  7. #7
    Thanks for all your comments. My o2 levels were always around 96, even when i had shortness of breath.
    But, I think we found the cause of my shortness of breath. Though its been going on for years, I ended up in ER not being able to breath well, for a different reason. I tipped over in my chair, chair and all. Breaking my clavicle. A week later I couldn’t breath well. Had to go to ER. 8 days in ICU. Chest tubes drained a few liters of fluid from my lungs. But while hooked up to monitors, they found my heart keeps going into A-Fib. My heart flutters and jumps to 140-150. I’m hoping meds will caim it down.
    Brought to you by: atrophied&twitch

  8. #8
    yes afib is a common problem i also have and my breathing definately gets worse when i am in it. but you should also have a pulmonologist look into it as well. i have had 2 ablations because meds alone weren't controlling it. now on meds still and it seems to be helping but i am still mostly in a fib, so we already know another ablation is In my sights but we are waiting for as long as possible. make sure they also have you on a blood thinner as you are more prone now to blood clot and stroke! i am actually going for a new watchman procedure where after a month i won''t need blood thinners anymore.
    T6 Incomplete due to a Spinal cord infarction July 2009

  9. #9
    Hi Greg (it's me Lori from the Quad list).

    They sent me home with an order for a nebulizer if I need it. I also took home with me one of those plastic things that are commonly given to use as often as possible to breathe in as far as you can and it will take you to a level that you would like to achieve. As stated above by many, us quads have diminished lung capacity so you are lucky if you get up to 1250 that it says straight on as you suck in as much air as possible.

    They also sent me home with orders to go see a pulmonologist, a cardiologist and of course my regular physician.

    I'm surprised that hospital did not send you home with the same to help you with what I have stated above.

    Quick breaths will not help you. You need to take long deep breaths with the plastic thing that I mentioned above. I can't remember what they're called but they are a dime a dozen and I had a couple in the hospital so I just took one home.

    Please take our advice! See you soon!

  10. #10

    Incentive spirometer

    Quote Originally Posted by Brinda41 View Post
    ... snip. I also took home with me one of those plastic things that are commonly given to use as often as possible to breathe in as far as you can and it will take you to a level that you would like to achieve. As stated above by many, us quads have diminished lung capacity so you are lucky if you get up to 1250 that it says straight on as you suck in as much air as possible. ... snip.
    Incentive spirometer.

    The other device is a the VibraPEP, by Curaplex, is a reusable single-patient device that provides oscillatory positive expiratory pressure (OPEP) therapy for the detachment and removal of pulmonary secretions. Through variable pressure settings, and optional aerosolized medication delivery, patients realize maximum efficacy specific to their unique clinical needs. The VibraPEP uses the patient's full expired air volume to produce pressure and oscillatory vibrations. The success of OPEP therapy depends on these vibrations, especially for patients with a low expiratory volume.

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    "We must overcome difficulties rather than being overcome by difficulties."

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