Chest pain. It’s so scary.
But it’s less scary if you know it’s caused by anxiety or a panic disorder.
When most of us suddenly feel our chest hurts, we’re certain that we’re dying.
That the chest tightness is a sign that you’re 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.
Here’s how to know if your chest pain is caused by anxiety, and how to stop it in less than a minute. O.k?
RELATED: 23 Herbs and Foods that Reduce Stress Hormones
Can Anxiety Cause Chest Pain?
You may be relieved to find that the answer is YES.
Chest pain is one of the common anxiety symptoms, along with a rapid heartbeat, sweating, nausea, and dizziness.
How Does anxiety chest pain happen?
People having anxiety or panic attacks are prone to hyperventilation (breathing in too much oxygen) caused by the fight or flight response. This contracts blood vessels and may cause considerable chest pain.
General anxiety disorder is usually accompanied by poorer digestion and bloating. Bloating can increase the pressure on the lungs and lead to chest pain.
Your biggest problem is:
Heart problems can feel exactly the same as an anxiety attack. So how do you know?
Is Your Chest Pain Caused by a Heart Attack or Anxiety?
It’s the first thing you want to know:
Does anxiety cause your chest pain, or is it a heart problem?
]Here’s how to Know It’s (Probably) Not a Heart Attack:
Anxiety-induced chest pain is usually located over the heart and is described as a sharp pain. The pain usually increases when you breathe, but it doesn’t tend to continue for more than a few minutes.
If you apply pressure to the area – the pain gets worse (that is a major difference from heart-related chest pain).
It is usually accompanied by palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, and tingling in hands and feet.
When your chest discomfort is caused by stress, your ability to exercise should not be affected.
When an anxiety attack begins, the body feels that it’s in a state of danger and produces adrenaline. Adrenaline gives you “a boost” of energy that you are supposed to use for escaping “the danger”.
It speeds up the heart rate and causes muscles to contract. That can cause chest pain. It can also be caused by the release of stomach acids and indigestion.
Chest pain and anxiety are really good friends, so I can tell you right now that this chest pain is probably not a heart problem (but you still have to get checked by a doctor!).
Dozens of people I know rushed over to the hospital convinced that they are having a heart attack but it turned out to be “only” a panic attack.
(Still worried? read more about the difference between a heart attack and an anxiety attack HERE).
How to Stop Anxiety-Induced Chest Pain
The symptoms of an anxiety attack will respond to anxiety-control techniques, like deep breathing and relaxation exercises.
Here is one powerful technique to get immediate anxiety chest pain relief:
(It is best done sitting but can also be done standing or lying down)
1. Sit with your back straight and your hands in your lap or on your thighs. Close your eyes. While doing this keep the tip of your tongue touching the top of your mouth.
When you inhale – do it through your nose. Exhale through your mouth. Ready?
2. Start inhaling slowly for 4 seconds (count them in your head not out loud). Push out your stomach and fill your lower lungs first. Then the rest of the lungs are filled.
Hold your breath until you count to 7.
Exhale comfortably for 8 seconds.
Try to imagine that all the anxiety is leaving your body while you are exhaling. You are letting it go.
Pause for 2 seconds without inhaling (very important) and do this one more time.
Repeat until you feel your chest pain gone. And it will be!
Self-Hypnosis Meditation to Stop Anxiety
👉 With this self-hypnosis meditation audio, your brain receives a clear signal that you are safe. if you practice this deep relaxation meditation on a daily basis, your brain gets a chance to realize you are not in danger and is open to re-program new thoughts and ways of behaving.
All this happens without any effort on your side. All you have to do is listen.
You can listen on your computer or device or via the free app which you can access anytime.
Can Anxiety Cause Chest Pain Every Day?
The answer is unfortunately yes.
It’s hard to believe that intense fear can cause such physical pain, sometimes constant pain, but until you relieve your extreme stress levels it may keep causing pain in your chest.
In this case, you must get checked by your doctor to rule out any heart problem (Angina/GERD) or other conditions that cause daily chest pain.
While this breathing technique will bring you excellent temporary relief, you may want to consider switching from “anxiety management” to anxiety CURE. You don’t have to “manage”, “control” or “deal” with anxiety and panic attacks.
There are ways to cure this condition, without medication (who wants to depend on those for life?).
If you have any questions or you’d like to share your experience in the subject I’m waiting to read your comments below.
To your health and happiness,
Demiryoguran NS, Karcioglu O, Topacoglu H, et al. Anxiety disorder in patients with non-specific chest pain in the emergency setting. Emerg Med J. 2006;23(2):99–102. doi:10.1136/emj.2005.025163
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The Top 2 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety
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49 thoughts on “How to Stop Chest Pain From Anxiety & Stress – in 60 Seconds”
Can you try this breathing exercise when you feel the pain and see if it helps?
Hello, I am 18 years old and I have been having chest discomfort since July 5, 2021(I was 17 years old at that time) up until now. I went to the emergency/urgent care section of a hospital to have it checked out. They did an EKG, blood test, and x-ray. And they said that they have found nothing wrong. I was given pills but the pills did not really do anything. They diagnosed me with Chest Wall pain. One doctor told me that he believed that the pain was coming from the muscular area and may not be cardiovascular related, he recommended that I do stretching exercises, but those didnt stop the pain either.
When I was at work, sometimes i would get tightness in the chest and occasionally a sharp pain on the left side of the chest, I was working at a fast food job where I had to stand up all day and do multiple tasks in the kitchen sometimes at high speed. I would have this alot of this pain everyday and decided to quit the job because of it. After I quit the job I decided not to work for 4 months, and during those 4 month I would have occasional chest discomfort/light chest pain. Now I am deciding to get a new job at a new restaurant and I am still feeling chest pain and tightness; I really dont want it to interfere with my work, and I dont want to have to quit another job because of it. Do you know anything I can do to actually make this stop? Thanks.
I can’t find anyone with my symptoms, yet I think it must be anxiety. I’m 70 and abt 10 yrs ago a few times got shooting awful pain from what seemed like adrenal gland, would shoot up straight to my neck and I’d just sort of freeze. This would happen when I was extremely stressed or emotional. It stopped for a couple of yrs, then had stresses again and would wake in the night with a fast heartbeat and fear, discomfort. Found out I had high BP.
I’m on 80/25 edarbyclor only last 2 yrs and bp always normal.
Stresses again last 2 yrs tho, and occasionally at first got attacks with a feeling of hot pressure like blood flow? coming up from shoulders to neck and throat, and very weak in arms elbows hands, to point I would have to lie down. It would subside for days and come on randomly, feeling stressed or not. NO CHEST PAIN NO NAUSEA NO FAST HEARTBEAT NO BREATHING PROBLEMS, No extreme cough, tho I do smoke.
In the past 2 months, extreme stresses and attacks are worse and brought on just by thinking of certain things or people. No energy anymore. Chest still doesn’t hurt, just horrible ache attacks shoulders collarbone arms, etc. Deep breathing and tapping the chest area help it subside, then 1/2 to her later back again. I can’t function during so life is so difficult. Tests haven’t shown a heart problem and I don’t want meds. I take aspirin only. I just want to find someone who has experienced this problem with no actual chest pain or fast hb or dizziness etc. And determine if it is anxiety so I can help myself. Drs seem not to know. Does heart problem present these symptoms that come and go, and are relieved with breathing, self-hypnosis?
I appreciate any answers, ideas.
Hi, I have the same issue but I worry it’s the beginning of heart failure or afib. I have heart palpitations, chest soreness, and tightness, some pain not bad but I can feel it in my back also. It seems like stretching helps a little and cracking my upper back but not always. It feels like my muscles between my ribs are sore. I get this on and off most of the day. Sometimes I get lightheaded and nausea with it. Been having bad anxiety and panic for the past 4-5 months. I tried deep breathing like this site but I find I get very lightheaded when holding my breath for the 7 seconds and it will often trigger heart palpitations which will worry me. It does seem to help a bit though. I’m just not sure if these symptoms should happen during those deep diaphragm breathing exercises.
Thank you for taking the time to share this with us
I’m also suffering from the same issue for the past five years. Now I’m 26. Breath exercises help me a lot. The remedy mentioned here is working well on me. Thanks for this technic and thanks for all the friends who mentioned your experiences. It gives me confidence and relief. And a word for those who are suffering from the same issue – please don’t lose hope. It is possible to get relief with proper treatment and effort. Once again, thanks for the effort in the creation of this website. I’m sure this will save a lot of lives.
Please do try Tom, it’s very effective. And come back to let me know how it worked for you, o.k? 🙂
There’s a lot of us, still to this day I feel like I am going to have a heart attack or getting heart disease.
28, about 3 months ago had my first ever panic attack, ended up down ER several days later, and had ECG, Chest X-Ray and blood test to be told its anxiety. Since then have had yet more blood tests, another ECG, ENT camera down my throat to check larynx and pharynx, 3 separate doctors and being told “its anxiety” after being given Zoloft/sertraline and reading 101 horror stories I decided what have I got to lose…….
6 weeks after starting these I am still here but experience chest pain sometimes left, sometimes middle and sometimes right, lightheadedness daily but try to ignore the pains now and use muscle rub all over chest and back to literally give a burn/freeze feeling haha
I shall try this technique next
Give them a try and let me know how it works for you. Usually, a little change can cause a massive improvement. Good luck!
Thanks to all who posted their experiences on here and the site author especially. I’m at the point where I can’t sleep at all (I awaken between 3 and 4 now and my mind just starts racing and the heartbeat starts freaking out), I can’t focus, can’t read, can hardly do anything. It feels crippling. I’m going to give your breathing tips a shot, maybe that’ll help. I don’t want to take any more pills…I’m done with that crap.
For the past 4 days, there is a pain in my back and chest on the left side. Also, I feel gas problems at the same time. I work at a book store where I have to be standing throughout the day and hardly get any time to rest. I’ve been working for more than 15 years but why this sudden pain from the past 4 days? My age is 44. Please help me.
Like you were told, this is just fear. Fear raises your heart beat via fight or flight mechanism, to prepare you to “danger” – which you are not in. Just repeat this info in your mind until you calm down, and I assure you that you heart beat will go back to normal in no time.
Been getting chest pains for a few days after I dislocated my knee the pains have been so extreme I’ve had the paramedics out and they’ve told me that my heart is normal beating a bit fast but normal and I’ve been in the hospital twice for it for my heart beating to fast then discharged and told its anxiety that raises my heart rate feels like I’m having a heart attack
I don’t know for sure, I would guess it has something to do with digestion. Consult with your doctor.
I do not think I am having anxiety nor do I have panic attacks. But I have been feeling uneasy in my chest area. I cannot say it is painful but a nausea kind of thing. It’s like I feel gas is forming around my chest more so towards the heart area. What could this be? Been feeling this after having my uterus removed. Thanks.
Thank you for these breathing exercises! Reading the comments help me a lot since I too suffer from this chest pain caused by anxiety. I’m going to double-check with my doctor to make sure it isn’t my heart but I’m pretty sure it’s not even if I’m completely freaked about it. Some circular torture right here though.
I have suffered for 8 years and it’s been truly the worst thing in my life. I’ve just turned 31 had a year of nothing after seeing Councillors, doctors taking tablets, etc my wife and children help me thru the hardest days but I think it’s all to do with your own childhood and upbringing plus day to day life. These breathing techniques work a treat and I’m very grateful that I’ve just read this and used this. To people like myself out there only we can do this so use it I hope you get thru it much love.
Obviously, to get rid of the chest pain for good – you’ll have to get rid of your anxiety. I suggest that just like you calm yourself down by telling yourself that your heart is o.k, do the same when you feel anxious. Calm yourself down the moment you feel anxiety comes, and this will prevent the chest pain in the first place.
19-year old and it’s very reassuring knowing I’m not alone in this struggle, I’ve made it to the point where I know I’m not gonna die, I also know that my heart is okay and to remind myself of these facts when I get really anxious but I still have the chest pains, I’ve got breathing techniques and I take 5-htp every other day, is there anything else I can do to relieve the pain maybe for good? it keeps me from being active like I used too
I’m absolutely thrilled that it has worked for you too!
OMG I am so glad you all shared these stories now I know I am not alone. Two weeks ago I had a panic attack been to er twice had X-rays ECG blood work done everything was fine. My worst fear was dying leaving my two sons without a mother. I’ve been worrying myself to death! I tried this method 30 minutes ago, My God My God the pain that lifted off my chest. Let Go Let God!
I’ve been suffering from bad anxiety and panic disorder for years, recently I’ve had a lot of things going on lost my baby, and basically been homeless, I’ve been getting a lot of discomfort on the left-hand side of my chest which feels very tight and like barely I can breath I’ll sometimes get shooting pains near my heart, middle of my back and shoulders are very tender and feel right as well, I’m scared if it’s anything normal and scared to get my blood pressure done as my anxiety goes through the roof then I’ll think there is something wrong will someone please help me!
Hi, I’m 19 and suffered from anxiety since being 14, I’ve been getting very bad discomfort in left side of my chest, then I’ll get sharp shooting pains sometimes near my heart, I’m scared if I’m having a heart attack or if there’s something wrong with my heart!
Wow it really works instantly so glad I found this
God reading most of these stories I finally feel that I’m not alone. I have been to the hospital 3 times since October I have had EKGs and blood work each time and also will be having an Echo in May. Sometimes I do good no pains and no worry other times not so good. Saturday I had left arm pain which has now down spiraled into the fact that I am dying of a heart attack I now have chest pain on the left side as usual. Tonight ( Monday) when I sat down for dinner I was eating then suddenly became overwhelmed with fear got nauseous and couldn’t eat. My jaw also is sore and at times I feel like I’m in a dream. I had anxiety about 10 years ago a really bad bout of it and I overcame it but I’m struggling now.. currently sitting with Icey hot on my chest and afraid to sleep anxiety sucks!
Can you see the vicious circle happening here? your chest hurts, then you think you’re going to die and this makes your chest hurt…you have to break the cycle. Try this technique and once it works you’ll see that you’re fine. Also, remind yourself that you have this for 4 years yet you’re still alive and with us…right?
Break the cycle.
I’m 28 years old an I’ve been suffering from anxiety since I was 24 I’ve had no hope.I’ve had every medicine you could think of its so bad it wakes me out my sleep.My chest constantly hurts an 90% of my day consist of me thinking I’m gonna die…. Help smh
Good luck Josh, I’m sure you’ll do great!
My chest pain anxiety started over a year ago when I was told I had atrial fibrillation. When it first happened I thought I was having a heart attack and didn’t understand what was happening at all. I found that every so often my heart would go into the atrial fibrillation state and this slowly developed anxiety for me. The chest pains were scary because I did have a heart condition I really didn’t understand, it was impossible to tell myself it was all anxiety rather than having a problem with my heart. I’m now more aware that my heart is ok when I get these pains but still tough fending off the chest pains as mine seem to last for about an hour at times. Reading the above has reassured me even more. I will be having an ablation procedure to correct my atrial fibrillation very soon so I’m hoping after having this will help reduce my anxiety.
Emotional pain can cause real, very real, physical pain. This can be because of an over-stimulated vagus nerve. “…the vagus nerve comprises between 80% and 90% of afferent nerves mostly conveying sensory information about the state of the body’s organs to the central nervous system.” -This can give you chest pain. But here’s the good news- because it’s caused by nerves, like other kinds of pain, it can be treated with regular pain medication. Of course, you’ll want to solve the underlying issue, but in the meantime, in the short term, you can reduce some of that pain with regular old paracetamol (also known as acetaminophen).
It is so reassuring to read that others share similar issues as I have. I’ve been prone to anxiety since a child, but it would be on and off…with many years in between of peace. When my best friend died, it came back…with different aspects, creating phobias. When my beloved mom passed away it started with a bang! About one month after her death… I was in the car and all of a sudden I felt like I was about to die! It felt like an out-of-body experience. I couldn’t catch my breath and then I got a dizzy feeling as if I was about to pass out.
That started a decline in my usual activities and old self. I began running to the ER almost once a month with chest pain. All EKGs and Echo came back clear…I went to a cardiologist, and she assured me after putting a cardiac event monitor on me for 30 days that I was fine. Still didn’t help. Each time I felt chest pain, I’d wind up in the doctor’s office or ER.
My PCP is trying to give me Zoloft saying it is anxiety…I’m afraid of the side effects.
I’ve been to a rheumy who told me I have signs of LUPUS and also my Fibromyalgia is acting up. I’ve been through several blood tests and although not definitive diagnosis of LUPUS, it may be.
I am so sick and tired of these ongoing chest pains, nausea, and headaches, along with bloating. And, I keep thinking I have cancer or a horrible disease.
Anyhow, I am going back to my cardiologist this week to check once again to make sure I’m okay.
My blood disorder causes anemia, and at times low platelets…so that’s why I worry about cancer.
Is this all anxiety as my PCP thinks? Should I try Zoloft? But, I’m not depressed…just anxious.
Okay…I just wanted to thank you personally for your help.
I pray for all of the people going through this in this forum.
I am a retired social worker who worked in nursing homes. I was a good counselor, and yet I have trouble “counseling myself.” LOL.
Peace and light,
I know how you feel. I used to be a hypochondriac as well. There’s nothing wrong with your heart. All you have to do is finally believe it and understand that it’s an anxiety symptom. I know, it’s frightening. Try this technique and do anything you can to reduce stress in your life (but without stressing about it…) and I would also recommend meditating every day. It’s a life changer.
Hello, I am 26 years old male, I have bad health anxiety (hypochondria) since I was 12. I have constant chest pains the last few minutes to few days. Had my EKG done maybe 20-30 times in 2016 and all came back normal. Went to see a cardiologist and my ECHO, stress test, and EKG were normal. I have no idea but I keep on thinking it is heart-related. I even demanded my doctor to do a chest X-ray- normal. My blood work was normal. All of the tests I took were normal. I even had thoughts about killing myself because of this chest pain I have, it is so annoying. Sometimes I get bad palpitations. I went online and ordered blood pressure monitors, oximeters, and an apple watch to monitor my heart rate, they do no good to me but increase my anxiety. When I checked my vitals, it reassured me but then I became obsessed with checking my vitals like every 15-30 minutes. I refused anxiety medicines because I was scared of the side effects. My primary doctor told me to take one 0.25 mg of Klonopin, and see if the chest pain would go away. She said that if it did, then it is ANXIETY related. So today I did what my doctor told me. Then today I had bad anxiety and severe chest pain. I took it, the first 20 minutes I actually had a massive panic attack and felt so strange, then all of the sudden my chest pain disappeared. I was able to eat the whole plate of food without any fear of choking. But I will try the technique that you mentioned.
If it’s gas than you can try activated charcoal. See how to use it here: https://natural-alternative-therapies.com/activated-charcoal-uses/
@Luna it’s okay, my chest pain makes it hard/hurt to breathe–it is another anxiety-related symptom. Meital is right though, talk about this with an adult or a professional you trust. A naturopathic doctor or functional medicine practitioner can help you rule out any other possible health concerns such as asthma or stomach issues. And remember, breathe!
I am having pain in my left chest , it allways comes on after standing or working in my workshop for around an hr or so then it kicks in and i have to stop work i think its gas and i need some fast relief from it can anyone please help me
I’ve found that breathing exercises help even more when you practice them and they make the anxiety go away even more if you’ve done them for a few weeks no matter if you experience anxiety or no.
I would also suggest, that people with anxiety and especially those who experience any physical symptoms from anxiety pick up mediation.
It did wonders for me. I had severe anxiety and just couldn’t focus on anything. I started meditating for 10 – 15 minutes a day. I didn’t felt any effects for the first few weeks. But then, after a while, my anxiety started to subside.
I wasn’t completely anxiety-free, but it just didn’t have so much control over me.
Thought I was having a major problem with the old pump and went to the Dr yesterday after the EKG and talking to him getting blood work and such he told me it was a fear of dying based anxiety attack I will try this. Being woke up at midnight with my chest pounding and pain scares the shit out of me.
Thanks, do an ECG or TMT test exclude a problem with the heart. Just spent my new Year night with recurring chest pain attacks, slow breathing didn’t get me out of it, will try this technique next time…
Travis, I hope you do try it. Also, here’s another good technique to stop a panic attack immediately
For the last 9 months, I’ve been rushed to the emergency room more times than I can count. Either it starts in the chest or left arm. Then my brain starts rushing “im having a heart attack!” I have had numerous EKGs and tests all coming back clear. My doctor had me take X-rays on my shoulder and i have to get a mri to see if I have a pinched nerve. I am tired of living every day in FEAR. I try to convince myself it’s just anxiety but once my brain starts humming it’s hard to stop. I have been put on Vistaril for anxiety but it doesn’t always work. I’m sick of going everywhere with a bottle of aspirin in my pocket and one aspirin in my hand constantly. I need help and I try and I try but nothing seems to work. I am going to try this exercise next time.
I’m so glad it has helped you. Don’t lose hope, anxiety is absolutely reversible. If I were you I would try to think what happened in the last year that’s causing it and start there.
Thank you, I recently have been suffering from anxiety/panic attacks and for some reason, my chest started hurting badly. I felt my face twitching a lot also my arms and legs. At first, I thought it was a heart attack, so I went to the hospital and all the tests came out clear. So it got me to wonder what I have. I talked to a friend that suffered from the same thing and I guess I suffer from anxiety, it started almost a year ago and it still surprises me every time I have an attack. This exercise really helped me right now.
That’s meant as a stress relief method, you can’t really breathe like that all the time..
Thanks for your post. My questions is breathing exercise as mentioned above of 4/7/8 should it be our aim to make it our regular breathing style or should it be a stress relief breathing style only?
This breathing exercise, along with controlled contraction, hold, and release of separate muscle group (ie: feet, then calves, then thighs….all the way through to facial muscles), have truly been a saviour for me through-out my journey through anxiety and panic disorder! its a wonderful thing to post for others to have access too
im 17 and have been suffering from panic attacks its been a very rough experience. excersizes like this have truly helped me. thank u so so much!!
I’m so glad it helped!:)
This excersize really helped me I thought I was having a heart attack