It is normal for most people to feel anxious, scared, or nervous and have chest pain from time to time. These are normal reactions to unusual moments in everyday life.
Some people often experience anxiety chest pain. Symptoms may be preceded by feelings of anxiety or may be preoccupied with other physical reactions. Sometimes, these symptoms are mistakenly associated with other conditions.
For example, chest pain is sometimes a sign of anxiety. Often the result of a panic attack or a rapid reaction, chest pain is a cause for concern because of a possible link to a heart attack and other heart conditions.
If you have recurring problems, learning to understand your chest pain can help you get rid of the symptoms and identify when you need additional medical help.
What anxiety chest pain feels like
The symptoms of anxiety are rarely the same from one person to another. Some days, the symptoms may not be the same for one person. Anxiety presents itself in a variety of ways, making it difficult to detect or understand the symptoms.
Anxiety-related chest pain feels different for each person. Some people may experience chest pain gradually. For others, the pain may be sudden and unexpected.
Anxiety chest pain can be described as:
- Sharp, shooting pain
- Persistent chest pain
- An abnormal twist or spasm in your chest muscles
- Irritation, numbness, or a mild pain
- Stabbing pressure
- Chest tightness or tightness
If you do not have a history of chest pain with anxiety, you may be nervous. Many people think they have a heart attack and go to the hospital’s emergency department for treatment.
If you feel uncomfortable, here are some simple techniques you can try. These techniques may not always work, but they are a great starting point when you need help managing your anxiety.
Practice deep breathing
Concentrated, deep breaths can calm both your mind and body. Find a quiet room or area, and breathe for 10 counts. Pause for a second, then exhale to count to 10. Repeat this several times as you feel your heartbeat drop.
Take stock of the situation
Accept your feelings of anxiety, recognize them, and then put them into perspective.
Are you worried about something you can’t control? Are you afraid of an outcome that is unlikely? Are you afraid of a situation that you can’t control? Speak your way through your feelings to find the source, and then work to put them in perspective.
Picture a beautiful scene
If you are feeling unwell, try to find a place that will calm you down immediately. This can be especially helpful if you are feeling anxious while in a situation you cannot avoid, such as a stressful meeting. Practice deep breathing as you imagine this place.
Anxiety chest pain vs. heart attack chest pain
Chest pain is a related symptom, and it is usually best to seek emergency medical help if you are experiencing it. Even if the cause of chest pain is anxiety, it is better to know that if you are having a heart attack, it is better than risking wasting precious time.
People describe chest pain when they have a heart attack in many ways. Some examples include:
- Chest pain that spreads to other parts of your body, such as under your arms or up to your jaw
- Chest pain that increases with exertion.
- Nausea with chest pain
- Chest pressure, as if someone had put something heavy on your chest.
- Fast heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling of tightness in the chest
According to a 2020 study, 30% of heart attack patients do not have chest pain. Some people report symptoms such as back pain and fatigue as symptoms of a heart attack.
Although doctors know there is a link between anxiety and chest pain, you should not ignore your symptoms and seek medical help.
Use a relaxation app
Anxiety smartphone apps can walk you through stress reduction techniques and exercises. There are also meditation apps that can help you calm your mind when you are feeling uncomfortable. Many of these apps are free, so you can try many of them to find useful apps for you.
Be proactive about your physical health
Are you taking good care of your body? Are you getting enough sleep? Are you eating well? Taking good care of your body is also taking good care of your mind.. Although it will not help treat anxiety chest pain, it can help you reduce your risk of future anxiety and consequent chest pain.
See a doctor
If your anxiety and chest pain are severe or chronic, you may need to consult a physician. They can talk to you in situations that cause anxiety and share coping techniques.
A therapist or doctor may be able to teach you coping techniques that help you feel controlled and safe. When you begin to recover, your symptoms, including chest pain, will subside.
If coaching techniques or mental exercises are not successful, you may need to consider prescription. Antidepressants have side effects and risks. But when you learn how to deal with symptoms, using them as a stop gap can be helpful.