Q. I experience contraction in throat, nasal passage and airways while inhaling. Why?

Answered by
James F Geiselman
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Feb 02, 2020

Hello doctor,

I have problems with exhaling and inhaling. My exhale is extremely quick with a pause. My inhale is really difficult. I can feel my throat, nasal passage, airways, and throat contract when I breathe in. Also, all throughout my back I feel pressure from my backsides and lower back when I relax to try and let my body take over breathing. But if I just end up rolling my back, my tongue slides back and maybe the uvula clogges the airway as well and breathing becomes laborious and takes all my energy and thinking. Sometimes I can take two breaths before it hurts and becomes laborious.

I order to breathe alright I have to hold my lower jaw in a position, move my tongue out of the way and hold it there, try to flex my chest downward and relax my belly. It is a lot of work to breathe. It is causing stress and anxiety. I cannot sleep, I have a pounding frontal and temporal lobe headache all the time and I have weird acid reflux unless I breathe a specific way. If I stop manually breathing, inhaling becomes near impossible and my throat feels like it caves in on itself. Also causing racing thoughts since when I relax it feels like my jaw and tongue are being stressed out and they twitch around too.



Welcome to

I am sorry you seem to be experiencing some trouble with your breathing pattern.

First of all, breathing is an involuntary response, meaning even if you try to hold your breath your brain will override this command and make you breathe. Breathing is an automatic response controlled by the respiratory control center of the brain within the medulla oblongata and pons.

The muscles of the tongue are controlled by the hypoglossal nerve. The jaw thrust maneuver you are describing when you lay on your back is designed to open your airway.

Have you ever had any trauma or head injuries? Have you ever sought care for this before? You mentioned that this had been occurring for several years, so I assume you have had it looked at by a medical professional. Did your doctor do any tests, MRI, or CT scan?

It sounds like you have a lot going on. While I believe everyone can benefit from chiropractic care, it is my professional opinion, based on what you are describing that you are not a chiropractic candidate and that you should be evaluated neurologically, at the very least by your primary care physician. I believe he will want to refer you to an ENT or neurologist.

Treatment plan:

Be evaluated by your primary care physician. I believe that he/she will want to refer you to an ENT or neurologist.

Preventive measures:

In the event of an emergency, go to the ER. Respiratory issues can be life threatening and require immediate medical attention.

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