My exhale is often constricted and shaky. I healed substantially from another persistent pain problem with the aid of, among other things, a breathing pattern designed to calm the nervous system: softer, smoother, longer inhale and exhale, about 4 to 5 seconds for both the inhale and exhale, no stop at end of inhale or end of exhale. (Thanks to Neil Pearson's "Life is Now" pain self-management program for that exercise). Doing this for 5 minutes a number of times a day really helped. But for months now my exhale is shaky. Sometimes I can smooth it out by concentrating very hard, but I feel like I'm working too hard. Breathing should be easy, that's the whole point. At first I thought my diaphragm must be "stuck" somehow. And when I had an athletic therapist "release" it months ago, for about an hour afterwards I had the most marvelous feeling of comfort and ease and my breathing was calm. Then the shakiness and tension came back. I also experienced a most wonderful soothing comfort and ease one morning when I awoke...a physiotherapist had worked on the nerves in my thighs the day before, and calmed them down. But again, the ease did not last. These memories of ease give me an image to return to in my mind, to know it is possible to feel comfort and ease. Because the shakiness returns, I am thinking "this is TMS" and trying not to worry about it. Worry doesn't help. But I look forward with great joy to the day my breathing settles again! My take on all this is that the shakiness may be fear. That my brain is staying stop! and constricting even my breathing, after repeated back spasms...making me afraid even to breathe for fear of pain? But it is the exhale, the letting go, that is shaky...so I also think it may just be that point in the journey where there is more and more letting go to be learned... It is also possible that some muscles are constricted. Months ago I tried exercises (the Gokhale method) where the instruction was to "tighten every muscle you can find in your core", and basically put my abdomen into a state like a rock! I still feel my psoas is learning to release gradually from that period of time. It got me through the worst of the spasms so that I could still be mobile enough for some activities of great importance to me, but has had to be unlearned. Somatics has been helpful for this. I feel though that if my brain is causing the constriction (TMS), the brain will undo it in time, if I stick with ignoring, refocusing on psychological issues, treating the shakiness with disdain, no biggie. It is hard to do this at times as breathing is so basic! But I have observed how pain moved around illogically here and there, and how I can sometimes undo pain with thoughts, or changing my breathing, and even my doctor is supportive that this shaking is probably TMS. (That didn't stop her putting me on iron, but I'm not going to mess with that, as iron was very low). Any thoughts on this, anyone?