I used to joke that I depended so much on my daily calendar to keep up with my busy life that I had to write "breathe" in every day so I didn't forget. Unfortunately, now there's more truth than humor in that statement.
Do you ever catch yourself holding your breath for short periods of time? I do. Even as I write this, I find I'm holding my breath as I type. And I'm not alone. More than half of fibromyalgia patients tend to either hold their breath or have very shallow breathing patterns.
My theory is that we begin holding our breath as a way of trying to lessen the pain - if I don't move, maybe it won't hurt as much. While that tends to be an instinctive reaction, the truth is that holding our breath can actually increase our pain. It can also contribute to a number of other unpleasant symptoms.
Once I realized how often I was holding my breath, I began researching the problem. If you're having a similar problem, read "The Importance of Breathing Properly" to learn how to improve your breathing patterns and habits.