Constricted Breathing - Cricopharyngeal Muscle Spasms? Please help-- desperate.

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Cianonzo
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2015
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 1/23/2015 6:11 PM (GMT -7)   
So I'll start off by saying that I have had almost every test imaginable and nobody has found anyyhing physically wrong. It came on quite suddenly a couple years ago-- I had just finished a nerve-wracking solo, and was in bed reading a few hours later, and I suddenly feel like I can't breathe. It lasted for about a year, and only went away after fairly high doses of Buspar, Lexapro, and L-Methylfolate. I was doing pretty well for the past year, and then I had to titrate off for a sleep study (I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Hypersomnia and am taking a prescribed stimulant). Even without my anxiety and depression meds, I was doing great... Until a very unpleasant run in with my psychiatrist (he dumped us as I am not a big fan of talk therapy-- never did anything for me). Almost immediately after, my constructed breathing returned. It feels as if there is a lump-- it is a bit hard to swallow saliva and breathing feels very constricted, despite tests showing I'm getting enough oxygen, ect. I read a post on here and that's how I found out about Cricopharyngeal Muscle Spasms-- and the symptoms highly resemble what I have. I can't endure another year of a constant feeling of strangulation. If anyone has suggestions either to help my anxiety or loosed the construction in my throat, please tell me. This feeling is unbearable.

-Cianon
(Also- if it is of importance, I am sixteen)

Post Edited (Cianonzo) : 1/23/2015 6:27:59 PM (GMT-7)


Jolleg
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2012
Total Posts : 213
   Posted 1/23/2015 8:30 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey Cianonzo,

Relapses happen. Believe me, I have had a couple myself. If everything checks out with your doctor and you are medically sound, then it seems to me that it is your anxiety returning. Whenever I have had a relapse, I find myself convincing myself that "this time it is different". But, in the end, it is my old friend anxiety.

It might be time to talk to your doctor about returning to your anxiety treatment and finding a medication combination that is safe. Also, talk therapy is not the only one out there! Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) has been shown to be extremely effective for treatment of anxiety.

Also check out the RESOURCES. There are some great coping techniques that can help you in the mean time.
Jolleg

Conditions: PTSD/GAD/Dysthymia & IBS-C

Treatment: Celexa 20mg, CBT Therapy, Meditation, Klonopin .5 mg (as needed)

“A man is like a novel: until the very last page you don't know how it will end. Otherwise it wouldn't be worth reading.”
-Yevgeny Zamyatin, We

Scaredy Cat
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 27116
   Posted 1/23/2015 10:17 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi C and welcome,

I am sorry to hear of your struggle with this symptom.:( It is a very uncomfortable feeling to be sure.

Have you ever practiced Progressive muscle relaxation? This could help as it reduces overall stress and tension in the body.

It can be found in the Resources Jolleg mentioned above..
but let me know of you are interested, and I'll post the link directly for you.:)

Scaredy Cat
Moderator:Anxiety/Panic

"Courage is not the abscence of fear, it is feeling afraid and doing it anyway!"

"Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles...it empties today of its strength."
Corrie Ten Boom

Panic Syndrome recovery due to CBT

Hibee
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 7065
   Posted 1/24/2015 5:18 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi

First of all welcome to the forum I am glad you have found us but sorry to hear of your current struggles.

As SC mentioned progressive muscle relaxation can be very helpful for the symptoms you described in your post so do check out our resources to find out how to do it and if you have any questions feel free to ask and we will do our best to answer them.

Also look into Mindfulness Meditation as that can really help with anxiety and depression as well as lower any pain you may have it takes a while to learn but it is well worth the effort.

Keep posting.

Hibee
I try not to worry about the future -- so I take each day just one anxiety attack at a time.

ANXIETY & PANIC FORUM MODERATOR

Diagnosed with:- Asperger's Syndrome, Dyslexia, GAD, Social Anxiety Disorder, OCD, Depression and Scheuermann's Disease (Adult)

Medications:- 40mg Prozac, 30mg Mirtazapine , Haloperidol 2mg per day

Gulf Coaster
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2014
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 2/1/2015 3:11 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Cianonzo,

I was recently diagnosed with Cricopharyngeal Spasms by my ENT, after many tests ordered by a previous ENT, my G.I. and my PCP; and after a misdiagnosis of Laryngopharyngeal Reflux by the first ENT. He talked about surgery to cut the muscle, which is supposed to stop the spasms. It's something I'll think about if it gets bad enough or if I can't minimize the symptoms through other methods. My symptoms are: trouble taking a good, satisfying deep breath, difficulty swallowing, & afeeling of tightness, cramping and/or a lump in my throat.

What has helped me in the meantime is Mindfulness Meditation, which Hibee mentioned, because it's always at its worst when I'm stressed, anxious or tired. I bought a set of CDs by Jon Kabat-Zinn and have enjoyed the Guided Body Scan meditation on the first CD so much that I haven't gone on to the next CDs yet. He has such a soothing voice. I took a few Restorative Yoga classes as well but prefer to just lie down on my bed and listen to Jon. Late afternoon is the best for me because by then I'm often a bit worn out or perhaps the day has brought on some stresses that I need help handling. If I don't deal with the stress or anxiety, I find the tightness in my throat brings on the breathing difficulties and dysphagia to the point where I can't eat.

Good luck.

Scaredy Cat
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 27116
   Posted 2/2/2015 10:25 AM (GMT -7)   
GC,

Great job on using your CD's and relaxation methods to manage your anxiety and symptoms!!

Thanks for sharing! I wish you continued success, and invite you to post with us anytime regarding anxiety issues and support.:)

S.C.
Moderator:Anxiety/Panic

"Courage is not the abscence of fear, it is feeling afraid and doing it anyway!"

"Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles...it empties today of its strength."
Corrie Ten Boom

Panic Syndrome recovery due to CBT

Gulf Coaster
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2014
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 2/2/2015 4:35 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for the lovely welcome, Scaredy Cat.

I have to admit I was a skeptic when it came to things like meditation. I had tried years ago but didn't "get it". My mind kept wandering and getting busy with other things so I could never meditate for longer than a minute. But this guided method really works for me because it keeps me focused and on track. Afterwards, I feel lighter and at ease. It's been so helpful and not just for managing my throat spasm symptoms.

Sistermoondance
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2015
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 2/3/2015 4:07 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi there,

I have just joined this forum because I am struggling with something very similar. I didn't know whether it was better to comment on an existing thread or start a new one for the same thing, so apologies - I don't mean to hijack you.

Basically a few years ago when I was really unhappy, I had difficulties swallowing food and felt like it was always getting stuck which then panicked me and made me gag (doesn't help that I am an emetophobe). I was referred to ENT and they did a barium swallow, said everything was ok and referred me to speak therapy. It didn't help much but just enough to ease the symptoms slightly. It gradually eased off but never went away. I cannot eat unless I take tiny mouthfuls and drink lots of water. Now I am a bit stressed again and I am feeling like the tinest thing I eat is getting stuck. I am 99% sure this is due to being stressed but it is so unpleasant and means I am basically living on chocolate as it is my only safe food. I know this probably isn't helping me though.

Coming on here and seeing your thread has made me feel less alone and I know somehow have to find a way to relax my throat but really would prefer not to take any medication if I can avoid it. I will check out the meditation recommended by you guys. I feel so down and don't want to do anything as I feel so awful. I just want to stay in bed and cry. It feels worse to me because I know there is nothing really wrong and I should be able to relax and the feeling go away.

Big hugs to you and sorry if you feel I have hijacked you

S x

Gulf Coaster
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2014
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 2/3/2015 10:19 AM (GMT -7)   
Big hug to you, Sistermoondance. Your post describes how I was November to mid-January - really down and unmotivated. I lost my appetite and the swallowing difficulties increased in severity and frequency so that eating became a chore and a nightmare as I fretted about choking and sometimes did. I lost 25 pounds in less than 3 months which was too much. I choked on water to the point where my airway was totally blocked and people around me would give me the Heimlich Maneuver. It was all incredibly stressful and frightening, which unfortunately does make cricopharyngeal spasms worse - a vicious circle.

I had 9 different tests, all coming back normal or mostly normal. Ordinarily that should be a relief but when you know something is very wrong but the tests tell you the opposite, you're not getting answers, therefore more stress!

Thankfully I went to a second ENT and after listening to my symptoms, he confidently said he knew what it was: Cricopharyngeal Spasms. Everything I've read about it confirms it for me. A perfect fit compared to the wrong prior diagnosis of LPR, which had caused me stress I didn't need, along with messing up my digestion thanks to the acid-blocking pills I had to take but didn't need.

Just knowing what it really is, and that it's not something really horrible or fatal, has been much easier on my mind and wellbeing. Knowing too, that it gets worse when I'm stressed, anxious or tired, is also a good thing because I can control and ease that in most cases, and without medication (so far).

Guided Mindfulness Meditation has been great for me. I hope you find as much relief with it as I did. Also, thinking happy thoughts - thinking about people or events that have brought me joy and positive feelings - helps too. Keeping busy is also good - find a project or hobby that brings you happiness and get busy at it. I spent 3 months sitting around moping and worrying - it wasn't helpful.

Physically, for the spasms, I avoid extremes in temperature: nothing ice-cold or very hot. I manage ice-cream by keeping it in my mouth, savoring the flavor before swallowing. I love ice-cream! I avoid spicy foods, and carbonated beverages don't seem good for my throat either. Perhaps the bubbles cause some muscular reaction? And too much burping definitely is not good for it either.

I use a hot compress on my throat in the evenings when the spasms/tightening/cramping are at their worst. A soft scarf wrapped loosely around my neck feels good too as I don't like my neck feeling cold.

So that's been my journey. Hopefully you'll find something useful for your own case. Good luck.

Sistermoondance
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2015
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 2/3/2015 10:54 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you Golf Coaster - definitely a few tips there for me to try.

I went to the Drs today and they recommended CBT and Sertraline. My Dr was lovely but I am so torn about taking Sertraline. I am 40 years old and have suffered anxiety to a lesser or greater degree for as long as I can remember, but have always resisted taking medication. Part of me wants to try just to see if I can feel better by taking a drug and the other part of me wants nothing to do with popping pills. My Dr bless her said that she was worried about me and she thought I should try but that obviously she couldn't insist I did and that it was up to me. She advised phoning the therapy people and having a chat to them first before making up my mind.

What to do....

Scaredy Cat
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 27116
   Posted 2/3/2015 9:33 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi SMD and welcome!

While not having the extreme issue that you share in this thread...I did have the lump in the throat sensation as my very first anxiety symptom.

I went on to develop panic disorder...and felt the same way that you did. I was prescribed both medication and CBT.

I decided to try the therapy first, and see if it was sufficient for treating my attacks...and if it was, great! If not, I would try the Rx.

Well, though difficult to get through without the help of a med...the therapy did suffice for me. However, everyone is different...so this is just my experience...

...but did want to share since we had/have similar feelings.:)

We also have an amazing Resource section here on the main page (first post) filled with really effective self-help coping skills that you may find useful. The Stress Relieving Exercises/Progressive Muscle Relaxation found in one of the links may really help you to relax the throat area and get relief. Let me know if you are interested, and I will post the link directly for you.

Keep posting if you find it helpful....support is key!

Scaredy Cat
Moderator:Anxiety/Panic

"Courage is not the abscence of fear, it is feeling afraid and doing it anyway!"

"Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles...it empties today of its strength."
Corrie Ten Boom

Panic Syndrome recovery due to CBT

Post Edited (Scaredy Cat) : 2/3/2015 9:36:22 PM (GMT-7)


Sistermoondance
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2015
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 2/5/2015 12:41 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you so much, i am still unsure because my husband really thinks I should take the pills. They are still sitting in a cupboard in the kitchen unopened.

However I went to see my chiropractor today and he said all my neck muscles were so tight, it is not surprising that my throat was tense too.

I am going to have a look at the resources because whether I decide to take the pills or not, I need to find a way to relax

Thanks for giving me some hope x
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