It’s normal to feel worried, fearful, or nervous every once in a while. These are common reactions to atypical moments that happen during everyday life.
Many people feel anxious often. For some, anxiety comes with worrying thoughts and physical reactions. Sometimes, these symptoms are wrongly attributed to other conditions.
Many people go to the emergency department when they experience chest pain, which is a stressful event. Nearly half of those who go believe they have a heart issue. Of those, 30-40 percent realize it was due to anxiety.
Anxiety and chest pain often go hand-in-hand, but that doesn’t mean you should automatically assume anxiety is the root of your issues.
You can’t risk delaying medical attention when there’s a chance you have a heart condition or are experiencing a heart attack.
Why does anxiety cause chest pain?
Anxiety is a complex condition that can cause a variety of physical and emotional symptoms. One of the most common complaints is chest pain.
While the exact cause of this symptom is not fully understood, it is believed to be related to the way the autonomic nervous system (ANS) responds to anxiety.
The ANS controls many of the body’s vital functions, including heart rate and blood pressure. When anxiety is present, the ANS goes into overdrive.
This can lead to an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, which can eventually result in chest pain.
While this symptom can be alarming, it is important to remember that it is usually harmless and does not indicate any underlying medical condition.
If you are experiencing chest pain due to anxiety, there are several treatment options available that can help to lessen your symptoms.
Read also: Why Does Anxiety Cause Nausea
What does anxiety chest pain feel like?
Chest pain caused by anxiety often feels different from heart-related pain (known as angina). Anxiety chest pain is typically less severe and more diffuse than angina. It may feel like:
- Tightness or pressure in the chest
- Radiate to the arms, jaw, or back.
- An uncomfortable feeling of fullness or tightness
- A dull ache
- Sharp, stabbing pains
- Burning sensations
Unlike angina, which is often triggered by exertion, anxiety chest pain is not usually related to physical activity.
And while heart-related chest pain often goes away with rest, anxiety chest pain may actually increase when you’re at rest.
This can make it hard to catch your breath and may even lead to feelings of panic.
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention right away.
While anxiety chest pain itself is not usually dangerous, it can be a sign of an underlying heart condition that needs treatment.
Read also: Why Does my Anxiety Get Worse at Night
How long does anxiety chest pain last?
Anxiety chest pain is not the same as a heart attack. However, it can feel just as intense and may even last for several minutes.
The main difference is that anxiety chest pain is not caused by a heart condition. Instead, it is the result of stress or anxiety.
When someone experiences anxiety chest pain, they may feel like they can’t breathe or that their chest is being squeezed. The pain may also spread to their arms, neck, or jaw.
While the sensation can be frightening, it is important to remember that it is not dangerous.
The best way to ease anxiety chest pain is to take slow, deep breaths and focus on relaxing the muscles in your chest. If the pain persists, you may want to speak to your doctor about other ways to manage your anxiety.
Read also: Why Does One Person Cause Me Anxiety
What part of your chest hurts with anxiety?
Anxiety can cause a range of physical symptoms, including chest pain. This pain can feel like anything from a dull ache to a sharp, stabbing sensation.
The exact location of the pain may also vary, depending on the individual. For some people, the pain is centered in the middle of the chest, while for others it may be felt more on one side or the other.
In some cases, anxiety-related chest pain may even radiate to the arms, neck, or jaw.
While the exact cause of this symptom is not always clear, it is thought to be due to increased muscle tension and rapid breathing.
If you are experiencing chest pain along with other anxiety symptoms, it is important to see a doctor to rule out any other potential causes.
Read also: How To Overcome Social Anxiety
How do I stop anxiety chest tightness?
If you’re experiencing chest tightness due to anxiety, there are several things you can do to ease your symptoms.
- Try to take slow, deep breaths and focus on relaxing the muscles in your chest.
- Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. As you breathe in, make sure that your stomach expands more than your chest. This will help to prevent hyperventilation, which can aggravate anxiety symptoms.
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and other stimulants. These substances can increase your heart rate and make you more anxious.
- Exercise regularly. This can help to reduce stress and improve your overall mood.
- If your symptoms are severe, you may want to speak to your doctor about other treatment options. They may prescribe medication or refer you to a therapist who can help you manage your anxiety.
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While it is not uncommon to feel anxious at times, anxiety chest pain can be a sign of a more serious problem.
If you experience anxiety chest pain on a regular basis, it is important to see a doctor for an evaluation.
While there are many potential causes of anxiety chest pain, the most common cause is heartburn. However, other potential causes include costochondritis, muscle strain, and panic attacks.
Treatment for anxiety chest pain will vary depending on the underlying cause.
However, some treatments that may be recommended include antacids for heartburn, muscle relaxers for costochondritis, and therapy for panic attacks.
If you are concerned about your anxiety chest pain, be sure to talk to your doctor.