Detailed guides to painful problems, treatments & more

Shortness of breath, now with more anxiety 

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
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Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

Here’s an excerpt from an anxiety-focused update to my shortness of breath article, which has become freakishly popular lately. Maybe it correlates with the American election.

Anxiety — excessive worry, either too much, or too long, or both — is a surprisingly potent and amazingly common cause of many odd symptoms. Shortness of breath and chest pain are among the most frequently reported of those. Although it’s common, anxiety is badly neglected as an explanation for many problems. Even though it’s almost the same thing as “stress,” many people don’t recognize that they are anxious, or they deny it or minimize it. And many people just don’t know that shortness of breath can be caused by anxiety! It really can.

Of course, many people don’t even recognize that they are anxious in the first place — or they deny it or minimize it! — let alone the weird symptoms it can cause (including plenty of pain).