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Does Anyone Else "clinch" Their Chest When Standing?


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I find when I am standing, I am clinching my chest muscles like someone is going hit you in the upper body(Fortunately, I have never been hit, but imagine that's what "bracing" would be like). It's kind of an unconcious thing, and only occasionally do I realize it. Today I noticed it, and I also noticed that I seemed to have my diaphragm kind of "up", kind of like when you are straining. This only happens when standing. I tell myself to relax and I do--for a second or two, then things go back tense. I never did this before POTS and I don't know why I do it. It would be nice if I was tensing my legs or something useful!

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I noticed yesterday that when I was standing I would kind of tense my whole body with out even trying to- especially my shoulder/ neck muscles. I think it's because I'm used to it kind of getting black around my eyes when I go from sitting to standing so I do kind of "brace myself" for it.

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sue,

I don't find that I clinch so much but I do find that I hold my breathe a lot. Not a big breathe but like a 1/2 full lung full of air, then, all of sudden I'll realize I'm doing it. I conjecture that this is a subconscious form of a counter-maneuver to slow my heart rate. I don't know that you are holding your breathe but I bet it is some sort of counter-maneuver to deal with the POTS.

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I am the opposite. I usually slouch/hunch when I am not paying attention. I think my poor posture and weak abs cause abdominal pooling (I have pooling in my legs anyway not related to posture). Since doing yoga I have become more aware and correct my posture when I remember. When i enage my abs and pull back my shoulders, I can feel a difference. It is supposed to help open up your lungs and back and improve circulation. It's cool that your body figured this out instinctively.

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Thanks for all your responses! I think it is part due to weak abdominal muscles, too, but then some days are way worse than others. So, who knows. Maybe it is part-compensating for the blood pooling. It definitely affects normal breathing, not getting in nice full breaths.

Yogini, I am also a huncher, and have been since my teens. I have always had slumping shoulders and it is definitely worse since the inactivity of POTS.

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Sue

Your post made me smile. I have been seeing a physio recently and one of the first things she commented on was that I was a shallow breather. She encouraged me to try diaphragmatic breathing and tried to get the muscles around my rib cage to relax. They were extremely tight and it was tender when she pressed on them. I can change my breathing pattern if I am lying down. I can make an attempt at it if sitting, but to honest, even that is hard to sustain. I cannot change my breathing pattern when stood because I tense all the muscles around my chest. At first I thought it was just a matter of breaking a habit. But, as you say, seconds after consciously deciding to relax the muscles I go back to tensing them when stood up. In time, I realised that it is instinctive, and not just a bad habit, and that it makes me feel a bit better.

You say you are not tensing other muscles. Since being made aware of the muscle tensing over the last few months, I have realised quite how many muscles I am tensing without realising. I know I flex my calf muscles a lot and will clench my fists. Now, I realise I could add almost anything to the list! I am partly blaming mine on EDS because it can help with positional sense though I realise it is mostly to counteract blood pooling and hypotension.

It is interesting that you have only done this since having POTS. I have had POTS so long that I can't remember anything else. I feel more justified in saying to my physio that shallow breathing is helpful and it is not that I am lazy or unwilling to break the habit.

Thanks for your post.

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