Does anyone with PN experience spasms in the diaphragm?

Posted by allwheeldrive @allwheeldrive, Mar 10 8:41pm

Periodically, I experience a sudden tightening of my upper abdomen which is very frightening because I can neither inhale nor exhale. Originally this happened when I was laughing a lot- but the fear of not being able to breath was very distressing, even for the onlookers. No doctor has been able to guide me in how to either relieve the situation or avoid the situation (if I started to laugh, I would tell myself to keep vocalising and not go silent ! however, lately, the spasm comes on without laughter- it is painful and frightening- I just keep telling myself to take short shallow breaths- it is very distressing and embarrassing if it happens in public! Could it be related to PN?

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Neuropathy Support Group.

Hello @allwheeldrive, It has to be a little frightening to say the least to experience the symptoms you describe. While you wait for members with neuropathy that have had similar experiences to respond I thought you might find the following newsfeed article helpful:
--- DIAPHRAGMATIC BREATHING: Why it is the secret weapon against chronic pain?

Here is another reference that may explain what is happening:
"Diaphragm spasms may impede normal breathing and be uncomfortable. They can occur for a number of reasons, including a blow to the stomach, a hiatial hernia, or phrenic nerve irritation."
--- Diaphragm Spasm: Involuntary, Flutter, Can't Breathe, and ...

Have you thought about seeking help at a teaching hospital or major health facility like Mayo Clinic?


There is something called the MS Hug that sounds like what you may be experiencing. Covid can cause neurological damage to many people, speaking from experience. I’ve had tight chest diaphragm feeling like I can’t fill my lungs (kinda like you are trying to blow up a tight balloon). Awful feeling. Many drs just think it’s an anxiety attack. I hate that this is the “go to” answer. Keep looking for answers.


Yes, it’s related. I have the problem and it’s in the ribs. Plus I have problems chocking sometimes.
I was diagnosed with it along with cardiac autonomic neuropathy (CAN)


Thank you for your response and the link. I have not seen the neurologist who diagnosed my idiopathic PN for about 19 years. At that time, his parting words were "this probably won't kill you, I'll see you in about 20 years!"
Maybe, it IS time for another consultation! I just don't want to pay for a specialist appointment to be told essentially that there is no treatment other than pain killers. At present, I have no real pain, just weird muscular feelings, periodically, like, bobble head, saddle bum, heavy legs and frozen diaphragm. Of course it would be great to learn how to prevent these, but, I'd really like to know how to alleviate the discomfort at the time, so that neither I nor nor well- intentioned family/onlookers don't panic.

The link John Bishop sent me re diaphragmatic breathing and simple short exercises for proprioceptor training by Doug Weiss are my focus at the moment. I will spend some time getting to grips with dysautonomia, also. Thank you


My neuropathy was caused by B6 Toxicity. I am a member of the Understanding B6 Tixicity Using Western Research oage. There are other members who report symptoms with swallowing, GERD, and stomache issues as a result of their B6 Toxicity.

Please sign in or register to post a reply.