Breathing Pattern Disorders

Information From The Breathing Pattern Disorders Website

Breathing is essential to life and occurs naturally with very little or no thought. There are many reasons why our breathing can lose its natural rhythm (see diagram). These triggers cause a disturbance to our breathing which could lead us to experience unpleasant symptoms including breathlessness which may be out of proportion to whatever you are doing.

What is a breathing pattern disorder?

Having a breathing pattern disorder means we could be using the wrong muscles to breathe, using the upper chest rather than the diaphragm and mouth breathing rather than nose breathing. Breathing could be fast or the breaths too large.

Breathing too much; also known as hyperventilation occurs when we breathe more than the body needs which can cause a chemical imbalance due to a lowering of carbon dioxide. This loss of carbon dioxide causes frightening symptoms which can trigger anxiety and worry leading to a continuation of over breathing. Over breathing is a normal reaction to stressful stimuli, once this has passed your breathing should return to normal. If there is a prolonged stress or may be a repeated trigger this continual pattern then becomes your new normal and your breathing does not return to how it should be.


How do I know if I am over breathing? What signs and symptoms I may have?

  • Frequent yawning and sighing
  • Feeling breathless after relatively minor exercise
  • Difficulty co-ordinating breathing and talking and/or eating
  • Pins and needles in hands/arms/around mouth
  • Palpitations
  • Feeling permanently exhausted and unable to concentrate for no apparent reason
  • Muscular aches and tension around the neck/shoulders/jaw
  • Bloated feeling in the stomach
  • Light-headedness
  • Getting out of breath easily
  • Cough that doesn’t go away
  • Feeling very tired all the time

Some people with pulmonary fibrosis can also have a fever, lose weight or experience muscle and joint pain.

What can we offer at Chapman Physiotherapy?

Our Physio Anil, has been working in this area for more than 10 years dealing with breathing disorders. We can identify the problem and show you good breathing techniques, self help and other tips that could help in managing your symptoms.