Difficulty breathing or breathlessness, can be a frightening and debilitating symptom but it can often be improved with treatment. It is important to discuss any feelings of breathlessness with your doctor.
Pain can reduce your ability to take deep breaths and to cough. As a result, secretions may gather in your chest and this can increase your breathlessness. Good pain control is helpful in managing breathlessness.
Breathlessness can cause you to breathe with your upper chest and shoulders in a rapid and shallow way. This can use up a lot of energy and tire you out. Learning a technique called controlled breathing can help you to relax and breathe gently and more effectively using your lower chest and tummy muscles. A physiotherapist or specialist nurse can teach you these techniques. Being breathless can cause you to feel anxious, frustrated and panicky. These emotions can cause rapid, shallow breathing, which can make you even more breathless. Understanding your emotional responses to breathlessness and learning to control them can help you manage your condition. Relaxation techniques can help you control anxiety and improve breathlessness.
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To get support with your breathlessness, watch our breathlessness management technique videos