Chest pain. It’s so scary.
But it’s less scary if you know it’s caused by anxiety.
When most of us suddenly feel our chest hurts, we’re certain that we’re dying.
That the chest pain 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.
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?
Can Anxiety Cause Severe Chest Pain?
You may be relieved to find that the answer is YES.
Chest pain is one of the common symptoms of anxiety and panic, along with rapid heartbeat, sweating, nausea and dizziness.
How Does anxiety chest pain happen?
People having an anxiety or panic attacks are prone to hyperventilation (breathing in too much oxygen). This contracts blood vessels and causes considerable chest pain.
General anxiety disorder is usually accompanied with 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?
Anxiety Chest Pain VS Heart Attack
It’s the first thing you want to know:
Is you chest pain caused by anxiety or are you having a heart attack?
Here’s how to Know It’s (Probably) Not a Heart Attack:
Anxiety-induced chest is usually located over the heart and described as sharp pain. The pain usually increases when you breathe, but it doesn’t tend to continue 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 with palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness and tingling in hands and feet.
When your chest pain 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 the heart rate and causes muscles to contract. That’s causes the 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 anxiety attack will respond to anxiety-control techniques, like deep breathing and relaxation exercises. Here is one powerful technique to immediately stop chest pain:
(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 like that. Then the rest of the lungs are filled.
Hold your breath for 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!
Can Anxiety Cause Chest Pain Every Day?
The answer is unfortunately yes.
It’s hard to believe that anxiety 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/GERD or other conditions that cause daily chest pain.
Warning: This Technique Won’t Prevent Your Next Attack
While this 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?).
I highly recommend that you give the excellent Panic Away online program a chance – it teaches many effective CBT methods to get rid of your panic attacks for good.
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,
ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.