A 32-year-old female asked:
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yesterday, i felt an enormous chest pain, and i couldn't breathe/swallow. my hands contorted and locked. my calf also locked, and my back arched. so scary & physical-can it really just be anxiety?

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Dr. Donald Jacobson
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Tetany due to hyperv: I suspect you had an episode of tetany due to a bout of extreme hyperventilation. This is most commonly seen in women who have extreme childhood abuse histories, but I have also seen it in some who don't have such a history. Tetany occurs when too much co2 is blown off when you are hyperventilating. This causes the muscles to contort, twist, and the back arches. It can be very frightening for the person experiencing it and for those who observe it.
Answered on Aug 30, 2013

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