Monday, April 15, 2024

Does Anxiety Make Your Chest Hurt

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Ways To Reduce Chest Pressure

When you are experiencing chest pressure and/or tightness, the key is to try to figure out the potential causes. Once you deem anxiety to be the cause of the symptom, the next goal is to stop it. See the following examples:

These are only temporary fixes. Remember that your chest pressure and/or tightness is often related to some type of anxiety issue or anxiety disorder. That means that the only way to prevent the chest pressure from returning is to learn to manage your anxiety.

Yet, before you can do that, you need to make sure that you know what type of anxiety you are suffering from and what symptoms may result from it.


Hyperventilation is the most common cause of chest tightness with anxiety, caused by breathing too quickly when you feel anxious. Other causes need to be addressed using means specific to each one. Anxiety reduction, using CBT, medication, or self-help treatment is the only way to effectively control chest tightness overall, but there are strategies that can be used to decrease its severity in the interim.

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How To Get Rid Of My Chest Tightness

It is important to note that discovering whether the chest tightness is related to a serious health condition or anxiety is the first step. If your symptoms are similar to more serious conditions, see a doctor immediately. If your chest tightness is linked to high levels of stress and anxiety then luckily the pain will subside as your body fully recovers from being in a high-stress response. The only thing to do in these situations is to find the best way to calm yourself down.

If you are someone that struggles with anxiety on a consistent basis or has a diagnosed Anxiety Disorder, it is important that you become familiar with coping skills that work for you. Some coping skills to use in high-stress response situations in which chest tightness is a result are slow deep breathing, or grounding techniques.

In general, it is important to discover and implement daily activities in your life that keep you rested and relaxed. This can include journal writing, meditation, physical exercise, or mindfulness exercises. Either way, learning to decrease your anxiety on a regular basis can decrease and prevent the experience of high-stress responses or panic attacks. This will hopefully eliminate your experience of chest tightness altogether and possibly other symptoms of anxiety you may be struggling with.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Panic Attack

A panic attack is a sudden attack of overwhelming fear or anxiety. Panic attacks are not life-threatening, but they interfere with your quality of life and mental well-being.

People who have regular or frequent panic attacks may have a panic disorder, a type of anxiety disorder. But an isolated panic attack can happen to anyone, even without a panic disorder diagnosis. 

  • Feeling of squeezing or, says Dr. Miller, like an elephant sitting on your chest.
  • Achy or burning sensation, like heartburn.

Panic attacks often cause:

  • Sharp or stabbing pain .
  • Heart racing or chest discomfort thats hard to describe.

The triggers

Heart attacks tend to happen after physical strain or exertion a sign not found in panic attacks. A heart attack might happen after shoveling snow or walking up a long flight of stairs, Dr. Miller says. But you wouldnt have a panic attack after exercise unless there was an emotional stress trigger with it.

But what if the symptoms hit you at night? Both panic attacks and heart attacks can wake you from sleep. But theres a key difference: People who have nighttime, or nocturnal, panic attacks usually have daytime panic attacks, too.

So if you wake up with chest pain or other symptoms, and you dont have a history of panic attacks, that might be a sign of a heart attack.

How long it lasts

Panic attack symptoms last a few minutes or up to an hour. Then, the symptoms disappear, and you feel better. But a heart attack wont let up.

Treatment For Chest Pain Caused By Anxiety:

Chest pain during anxiety has been linked to reduced quality of life, dissatisfaction with life and poor physical, mental and social health status. It is also linked to frequent hospitalization, increased expenditure on seeking medical consultations and medications.

It is important to differentiate cardiac causes of chest pain from non-cardiac causes. Treatment for chest pain due to anxiety includes:

  • Counseling and Behavior Therapy Counseling and behaviour therapy works beneficially in patients facing frequent attacks of anxiety:
  • It helps them to identify their triggering factors.
  • Behavioral therapy helps the patients manage and reduce their own symptoms.
  • It helps them understand that chest pain caused due to anxiety is not of cardiac chest origin.
  • Inculcating positive thinking enables patients to face anxiety and yet manage their symptoms. This prevents occurrence of chest pain.
  • Count counting gradually from 1 to 10 during anxiety attacks helps to deviate the mind from triggering factor.
  • Deep Breathing as we have seen that chest pain can occur due to reduced blood supply to smaller arteries, breathing in and out gradually during panic attacks helps in maintain a normal flow of blood.
  • Keeping Track of Attacks this helps the patient and even the doctor to evaluate how behavior and counseling therapy or medications have been working well to treat chest pain during anxiety.
  • Lifestyle Modifications Include:
  • Daily physical exercise
  • Eating a healthy well-balanced diet.
  • What Does It Mean When My Chest Feels Tight

    Can anxiety cause chest pain, NISHIOHMIYA

    • June 18, 2021

    Does your chest feel tight and heavy and youre not sure why? Does your chest feel tight only at certain times of the day and not others? Are you concerned about whether its a medical problem? Having chest pains can be a concerning experience but it does not mean its a serious medical problem.

    Most people experiencing chest pain assume they are having a heart attack. Many times after ruling out any medical explanations, if your chest feels tight, it may be related to anxiety or high levels of stress. Chest tightness is a symptom of along with others that may occur simultaneously.

    The chest tightness can be located in one or a few spots in the chest area, or move all over the chest area. If you experience chest tightness it varies by the person how often it occurs. It could occur persistently, rarely, or frequently. Chest pain can feel sharp, dull, stabbing, piercing tightness or pain, and/or as persistent tightness, pressure, fullness, or numbness.

    Sometimes chest tightness occurs on its own and other times it may follow or accompany episodes of anxiety, high stress, or fear. Occasionally, anxiety culminates into a panic attack, which can last for 10 to 20 minutes.

    Talk To A Professional

    Psychotherapy works very well at helping persons affected by any of the anxiety disorders, including helping to lessen the symptoms they experience. Also called “talk therapy,” psychotherapy is conducted based on the therapist’s assessment of the specific issues a person faces and their specific needs to regain control of their life.

    A common approach that a therapist might use is Cognitive Behavior Therapy , in which the affected person is taught new ways of thinking about and reacting to the triggers of their anxiety. This may include exposure therapy, whereby the person is exposed to the object of their fear to help them confront it rather than avoiding it. The therapist may also decide to teach relaxation techniques as a part of exposure therapy.

    Why Does Anxiety Lead To Chest Tightness

    Several processes act together to create different symptoms of anxiety, including chest tightness . One involves hormones.

    “If you sense a threat or fear, that triggers a release of adrenaline hormone,” explains Dr. Cazabon. “Your heart rate goes up, blood pressure can go up. Your vascular vessels can tighten a little bit. The chest muscles can also tighten and can give you the feeling of something squeezing,” he says. The stress hormone cortisol also plays a role.

    Muscle tension

    “The rib cage and the diaphragm are all made of muscle and bones,” says Bradley Gaynes, professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, in Chapel Hill. “You can get tension there, too. And that’s why you might feel chest and pain, and shortness of breath.” It’s not too different from having stress-related pain and tightness in your neck or shoulders.

    Oxygen intake

    When you’re feeling anxious, you take fast, shallow breaths which means you’re not bringing in enough oxygen. Your body reacts by taking even more short breaths which results in a vicious circle. This can also contribute to chest tightness, says Dr. Gaynes.

    What To Look For

    • Escalating chest pain that reaches maximum severity after a few minutes

    • Constant pain, pressure, fullness or aching in the chest area

    • Pain or discomfort that travels or radiates from the chest to other areas, such as one or both arms, abdomen, back, shoulders, neck, throat or jaw

    • Pain that is brought on by exertion

    • Shortness of breath

    • Sharp or stabbing chest pain that lasts only 5 to 10 seconds

    • Pain that is localized to one small area

    • Pain that usually occurs at rest

    • Pain that accompanies anxiety

    How You Can Tell If You Are Suffering From Anxiety

    The easiest way to determine if you are suffering from anxiety-induced chest tightness is by ruling out any cardiac or lung-related disease. Only a physician can rule these out completely.

    A few signs can be helpful in determining if your chest tightness is cardiac-related. This is by no means an all-inclusive list. So, when in doubt, please visit your primary care physician. Generally, the following is more likely to be true of anxiety-related chest tightness and/or pressure:

    • It is less likely to radiate towards the back, arms, or shoulders.
    • It is more likely to occur with other anxiety symptoms.
    • It tends to last for less than 10 minutes.

    Again, having chest pain that abides by these suggestions does not rule out any cardiac or pulmonary causes. Also, women, diabetics, and the elderly often present with chest pain that is atypical of traditional cardiac chest tightness. So, if you belong to one of these groups and have new-onset chest pressure and/or tightness, it is best to see a physician first.

    Anxiety attacks have a peak time, and that tends to be when the chest pressure is at its worst. Cardiac chest pressure, on the other hand, is more likely to last longer than 15 minutes, radiate, not be relieved with the resolution of anxiety, and be associated with shortness of breath etc.

    Treatment Of Panic Disorder In Patients With Chest Pain

    Panic disorder, as described above, can have profound effects on social, financial, and occupational function, as well as on elevated rates of cardiovascular disease. Fortunately, PD is highly treatable, as borne out by a number of trials using both pharmacologic and psychotherapeutic treatments. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors , venlafaxine, and tricyclic antidepressants are among the antidepressants with proven efficacy in PD, with rates of response of approximately 50% to 70% over several months. Benzodiazepines, especially alprazolam and clonazepam, have also been proved effective in PD. Furthermore, cognitive-behavioral therapy , the best studied of the psychotherapies for PD, appears to be comparable to medication in the treatment of PD. Treatment of patients with PD can be individualized on the basis of a patient’s preference for medication or psychotherapy, prior history of response, presence of comorbidity, and severity of symptoms.

    How To Hang On: Coping During A Pandemic

    A poll conducted in mid-April 2020 by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 56% of adults reported that worry and stress because of the pandemic has had a negative effect on their mental health.

    Respondents reported adverse effects such as trouble sleeping, poor appetite or overeating, frequent headaches or stomachaches, difficulty in controlling their temper, or increasing alcohol/drug use, and worsening chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure. This is up from 45% reporting that stress over coronavirus had negatively affected their mental health in a KFF poll conducted in late March 2020.9

    Right now everybody hasincreased anxiety, whether youre healthy as a horse, whether you have a psychiatric illness, or not, says Dr. McCann.

    Telemedicine can help by connecting people with their doctors, and video meeting apps provide a means to keep up a social life as we remain in our homes. More on how to access telemedicine.

    Dr. McCann also suggests exercising together with friends via video chat to social interaction, while Dr. Bhatia recommends practicing mindfulness to ease stress.

    Symptoms that are related to anxiety/panic can improve with mindfulness-based breathing exercises, says Dr. Bhatia.10 More on this from Dr. Bhatia.

    I Was Not Surprised That My Blood Pressure Was Elevated And That I Had Rapid Heart Rate But My Doctor Was

    Here is another story:

    I started having strange and unexplainable heart attack-like, panic attack-like symptoms. These included chest pains, a rapid heartbeat, and breathing difficulties. Of course, this frightened me, I am young, late 20s, how could I have a heart condition?

    I did have the classic heart attack warning signs, pain in my chest, pain going down my left arm, breathing difficulties. One particularly bad day I went to Urgent Care because of chest pain and panic. I was assured that I was not having a heart attack but I should visit my primary care doctor as soon as I could. This visit to the doctor reassured me a little, but not a lot. I had an EKG which was fine. I was not surprised that my blood pressure was elevated and that I had a rapid heart rate. I could tell that on my own.

    At my primary care doctor, these elevated cardio symptoms were attributed to panic attacks and white coat syndrome, the anxiety of being in the doctors office and my anxiety about taking the tests. I had had these symptoms before, I did not feel they were strong enough to see a doctor because I was convincing myself they were panic attacks. I was just not sure what caused them.

    Lets stop here to explain some points. You may have already performed your own research as we find that people who suffer from symptoms like those above have done extensive reading on the internet. We will do a short summary and a video presentation with Ross Hauser, MD.

    Be Mindful And Observe Yourself

    Having Chest Pain? A Stress Test Can Tell You Why

    Often during anxiety attacks, we let our brains run wild. One anxious thought leads to another and our brain rapidly starts multiplying all the negative thought patterns that make us feel as if were losing control.

    The best way to instantly tackle anxiety is to be mindful and observe your thinking to see whats going on. To begin observing yourself, focus on your breathing and direct your attention inward to quiet your mind and focus your attention. As your thoughts begin to stray or you begin to think about a feeling or sensation , observe that you are distracted and re-focus your attention on your breathing. Doing so, you will see that your negative thoughts might not make as much sense as you think. Breathe deeply and try to calm yourself. You will feel instantly better. If you practice self-observation often enough, you might find it to be a highly useful tool for calming yourself.

    How To Stop Chest Pain From Anxiety & Stress In 60 Seconds

    Chest pain. Its so scary.

    But its less scary if you know its caused by anxiety or a panic disorder.

    When most of us suddenly feel our chest hurts, were certain thatwere dying.

    That the chest tightness is a sign that youre going through a heart attack.

    That your anxiety disorder is really killing you. Now.

    But before you panic any further take a deep Breath.

    Anxiety and chest pain are good friends.

    Heres how to know if your chest pain is caused by anxiety, and how to stop it in less than a minute. O.k?

    Lets go.

    Home Treatment For People Who Have Been Diagnosed With Chest Pain

    If you have stable angina, you can probably predict when your symptoms will happen. You probably know what things cause your angina. If you and your doctor have made a home treatment plan, follow that plan. If you are having angina symptoms more often than usual, or they are different or worse than usual, call your doctor right away. If you have angina symptoms that do not go away with rest or are not getting better within 5 minutes after you take a dose of nitroglycerin, 911 or other emergency services immediately.

    You may be able to control how much your angina bothers you by making changes in your lifestyle. You may find it helpful to:

    • Avoid strenuous activities that bring on angina.
    • Eat balanced, nutritious meals. Try to limit the amount of fats and fatty foods you eat.
    • Maintain a healthy weight.
    • how much alcohol you drink.
    • Do not smoke or use other tobacco products. For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.
    • Reduce stress. For more information, see the topic Stress Management.
    • Control your blood pressure with diet and medicine. For more information, see the topic High Blood Pressure.
    • Avoid extremely cold or hot environments.
    • Take all medicines, such as nitroglycerin, as instructed by your doctor.
    • Follow the exercise or activity program you and your doctor developed.

    Symptoms Of Anxiety Chest Pain

    Chest pain related to anxiety attacks varies from person to person. Some people may experience gradual symptoms, while others experience severe and unbearable symptoms. Usually, the symptoms of anxiety chest pain entail a persistent chest aching, sharp/shooting pain, muscle twitch or spasm on the chest. People may feel tension, numbness, stabbing, or a burning sensation in their chest area, lasting for 5 to 10 seconds.

    Related: Anxiety Relief With the Power of Telemedicine

    What Else Can Cause Your Chest To Feel Tight

    Gallery: 4 Skin Changes You Should Never Ignore

    Causes of chest tightness run the gamut from the relatively benign like indigestion to a gallbladder attack to a potentially life-threatening heart attack or a pulmonary embolism , says Dr. Cazabon. That’s why it’s such a tricky diagnosis to make.

    Why is chest tightness associated with so many ailments? “The chest and upper abdomen are integrated from one nerve,” explains Dr. Cazabon. “The vagus nerve travels from the brain all the way to the gastrointestinal tract, but it just registers nonspecific pain.” You need to know more of the story to zero in on a reason.

    What Kind Of Doctor Treats Non

    The first time a person has non-cardiac chest pain, he or she usually goes to the emergency room, thinking he or she is having a heart attack. The first thing the emergency room doctor will do is make sure the pain is not a heart attack or due to heart disease.

    If it truly is non-cardiac chest pain, the emergency room doctor usually refers the patient to a gastroenterologist, a doctor who specializes in digestive system disorders, for more testing and treatment.

    Some people who have had several episodes of non-cardiac chest pain go to their primary care physician or a heart doctor instead of the emergency room. The doctor will follow the same steps to make sure the pain is not heart-related, then refer the person to a gastroenterologist.

    ‘the Worst Thing We Can Do’

    It’s a complicated and challenging issue for health professionals and patients alike.

    “Cardiac-type” symptoms can indicate a serious medical emergency, and should never be ignored. It’s what sends people to the ED in the first place.

    “If we don’t do the right investigations for patients to ensure there isn’t some underlying pathology, then we’re likely to miss things,” Dr Judkins said.

    Read more

    Physical symptoms, such as chest pain even when there is no underlying cardiac cause can be understandably very frightening.

    “The worst thing we can do is just sort of pat people on the back and say, ‘look, it’s just anxiety’. That certainly doesn’t help, and can make things worse,” Dr Judkins said.

    Then there’s the problem of dismissing or misdiagnosing people with mental illness.

    “We know, for example, that patients with anxiety and panic disorders when they do have physical pathology often the physical issues get missed,” Dr Judkins said.

    “People tend to label it as ‘it’s just your anxiety’ or ‘it’s just the mental health issues you’ve got that are manifesting’.”

    EDs in Australia are stretched as it is when it comes to patients with acute mental health problems. For many people, the emergency is their only option or their last resort.

    Could Your Chest Tightness Be Due To Anxiety Why It Happens

    Best Health

    About 3 million Canadians have a mood and/or anxiety disorder. While anxiety can take many forms, one of the more troubling symptoms is chest tightness, which can also be a sign of something more immediately life-threatening, like a heart attack.

    It’s always best to check with a doctor or nurse to determine the cause of your symptoms. But there may be some clues that your discomfort is stemming from anxiety and not something else.

    Anxiety is a reaction to stress and it’s not always a bad thing. A little bit of anxiety keeps you on your toeshelps you meet a deadline, show up for appointments, and follow the speed limit. Too much anxiety, on the other hand, can be debilitating and needs to be addressed.

    What Are The Physical Symptoms Of Anxiety

    Get Your Hiatal Hernia Fixed Right the First Time  Health ...

    Anxiety feels different for everyone and can affect our bodies in different ways. These are some of the physical symptoms of anxiety you might experience:

    • faster, shallower breathing
    • tightness or pain in the chest
    • pins and needles in toes or fingers
    • feeling faint or dizzy
    • fast, thumping or irregular heartbeat
    • raised blood pressure
    • needing the toilet more frequently
    • churning in the pit of the stomach.

    Cardiovascular Morbidity And Mortality In Panic Disorder

    Studies of patients with PD have found elevated rates of certain cardiovascular disorders, including hypertension, idiopathic cardiomyopathy, microvascular angina, and, possibly, sudden cardiac death. Furthermore, some longitudinal studies of patients with PD suggest higher rates of death from cardiovascular causes, especially among men.

    Can Anxiety Cause Chest Pain And What To Do About It

    Medically Reviewed By: Whitney White, MS. CMHC, NCC., LPC

    Do you ever start to get chest pains when you’re feeling anxious? Your chest begins to tighten, and you might have sharp, persistent pain. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it’s also a bit scary. You might even wonder whether or not you have a heart attack. Anxiety can be the cause of chest pain, and this article will help you know what to do to help stop it.

    Chest pain should always be taken seriously. If you struggle with anxiety-induced chest pain, we’ll discuss tips in this article that can help you learn how to manage and overcome it. For example, certain types of therapy, such as CBT are 60% effective, among other options.

    Relief For Chest Pain Caused By A Panic Attack

    During a panic attack, the following strategies can help you to manage the symptoms:

    There are also preventative measures you can take to avoid panic attacks, which include the following:

    • Limit your caffeine, alcohol and nicotine intake
    • Exercise regularly to relieve tension and boost your mood
    • Eating healthy regular meals to keep your blood sugar levels stable
    • Get good quality sleep try to achieve eight hours a night and stick to the same bedtime routine all week

    Treatment For Chest Tightness Caused By Anxiety

    It is essential to identify chest tightness caused by anxiety and to differentiate it from other respiratory causes to provide appropriate treatment for the same. Treatment for chest tightness caused by anxiety includes:

  • Behaviour Therapy Helps the patient in following ways:
  • It is important to remind the patient that this feeling of chest tightness caused by anxiety is temporary and not due to any cardiac or respiratory cause.
  • It helps the patient to identify triggering factors and how to manage the feeling of chest tightness in presence of these triggers.
  • Deep Breathing Exercises for relaxation helps the patients to maintain and regulate normal respiration even when they are faced with anxiety.
  • Sit in a relaxed position and close your eyes. Breathe in gradually. Hold your breath for 2-3 seconds and slowly exhale. Repeat this up to 10 times or until you fell at ease.
  • As you breathe in and breathe out, count your breaths. This not only helps you focus on your breathing, but also deviate your mind from anxiety triggers.
  • Breathing exercises increases the amount of oxygen supply to the brain and helps you calm down.
  • Inculcate Positive Thinking This helps the patient manage and control hyperventilation caused due to anxiety.
  • Keep track of attacks and note down the severity of chest tightness experienced during each anxiety attack. This helps to analyze how well behavior therapy has been working.
  • Dr. Himanshi Purohit

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