Although breathlessness can be a difficult symptom to live with, there are things you can do to reduce its impact on your life. These include breathing techniques, relaxation and changing how you do your daily activities. Other things are to get your pain well controlled, to eat well and to take part in physical activity. These can all help to reduce the distress of breathlessness and make your breathing easier.
Get into a comfortable position
When you feel breathless, it can help to get in a comfortable position that supports the use of your upper chest muscles and allows your diaphragm and tummy to expand. The following are comfortable positions:
- Position 1 - sitting in a chair in an upright position with your back supported, uncross your legs and let your feet rest comfortably on the floor. Let your shoulders drop and feel heavy, with your arms resting softly in your lap. Keep your head upright.
- Position 2 – sitting in a chair and leaning forward with your upper body, legs uncrossed, feet on the floor and shoulders relaxed. Slowly move forward a little so that your elbows and lower arms are resting on your thighs, supporting your upper body. Keep your knees shoulder width apart and let your chest relax when you lean forward.
- Position 3 - standing and leaning forward on to a secure surface. Let your arms and elbows rest on the surface, so that you are supporting the weight of your upper body. Keep your shoulders and chest relaxed by letting your forearms remain shoulder width apart.
- Position 4 - standing in an upright position and leaning against a secure surface. A wall is best. Let your arms drop to your sides and make your shoulders heavy and relaxed.