Two "dancing" flames shaped like lungs

Asthma Attack During a Stressful Situation?

Asthma has a lot of strange asthma triggers, and one of those can be strong emotions. One strong emotion can be stress, and I experienced a VERY stressful situation yesterday.

I am known to be clumsy and suffered a concussion years ago after I fell UP the stairs. Anyone can fall DOWN the stairs, but it takes real talent to fall UP the stairs.

The stressful situation

In keeping with my clumsy reputation, I had a bad fall on my sloped driveway. I put my left hand out to break my fall, and you can guess what happened...I broke my wrist. I knew it was broken right away. If you have ever broken a bone before, you know what it feels like – and I knew instantly that I had broken my left wrist.

I also landed hard on my left hip and had to sit there for a minute because I was so stunned at what happened. I was trying to process it.

After my fall up the stairs (and the concussion), I bought a watch so it could alert my husband when I fell. An alert did pop up on my watch when I fell on the driveway, but I did not know how it worked or if I was supposed to tap something to call my emergency contact (my husband). So there I was, lying hurt on the driveway while my husband was working upstairs in his home office.

I somehow managed to get up and limp into the house. I called out for my husband, and he could hear by the tone of my voice that something was wrong. He asked what happened, and I told him that I had fallen and was sure I had broken my wrist. And I also injured my hip.

Luckily, we have an urgent care about 5 minutes from where we live, so he gently helped me get into the car, secured my seat belt, and drove me to the facility.

Stress triggering an asthma attack

I was breathing fast, and my heart was racing. I knew I needed to calm down or I was going to have an asthma attack. That's all I would need on top of my injuries. I knew I needed to control my breathing.

Years ago, I taught open airways workshops in elementary schools throughout my county. One lesson was to teach the kids how to belly breathe when they were having strong emotions. I have used that over the years for myself, and it seems to help me.

The pain was excruciating, so it was hard to concentrate on my breathing. But I knew that if I had an asthma attack, it would take days for my lungs to calm down. I was able to calm down and slow my breathing back to normal rates even with all the pain.

Moving to the X-ray table made the pain worse, so I started belly breathing again. The radiologist read the X-ray and said I had broken my wrist, just as I thought. She saw the large swollen mass on my hip and was surprised it was not broken. That was lucky, but the purple bruise is the size of a football. And very painful.

My lungs were still feeling a little off, so I ended up using my albuterol inhaler. I think my asthma attack would have been much worse if I had not used belly breathing for the stressful situation.

Has anyone else tried belly breathing in a stressful situation? Did it help?

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