Now there’s a question that’s asked much of the time; can anxiety cause chest pains? Well, the short answer to that question is simply yes! If you want the long answer, then keep reading.
I must stress (no pun intended) that I’m not saying all causes of pain in your chest are down to stress and anxiety. There may very well be other reasons for it, and stress is certainly one of them.
I think we would agree, that one of the worst cases of anxiety are anxiety attacks. They provide a great opportunity to experience some of the worst mental and physical symptoms in a very short period of time, although you could experience a number of attacks over a few days, simply because your brain is determined that it’s more convenient to your current state of being.
But we’re talking about general anxiety and if it’s something you’ve suffered from for a while, then I’m sure you’re quite the expert when it comes to the whole variety of symptoms available to us.
Chest Pain and Stress
One of the symptoms of anxiety can be a feeling of pain in the chest and the reason for this is simply because of the way the breathing occurs in anxious people. Anxious breathing strains particular muscles between the rib cage and the shoulders and neck which can cause tenderness and muscle spasms in the wall of the chest.
But you have to ask yourself why are you even concerned with this question in the first place? I think the obvious answer is simply because you’re afraid you’re either having a heart attack, or cardiac problems of some sort.
Take some comfort in realizing that the symptoms of a heart attack and a panic attack may share some similarities, but there are differences as well.
Causes of Chest Pain – Cardiac Arrest or Just Anxiety?
When you’re experiencing a high anxiety state, your heart can pound very rapidly causing pains in the chest (typically in the upper left portion of the chest), but these chest pains will pass fairly quickly.
In contrast to this, during a heart attack, the chest pain will be continuous and you will feel an almost crushing pressurized sensation in the center of your chest. The pounding of the heart is only secondary to the main symptoms of a heart attack.
Furthermore the pain can worsen through movements or increased physical activity and actually fade away if you remain still and rest easy (as opposed to a panic attack where standing still won’t necessarily change the symptoms, it may very well increase the pounding).
The irony of course is that as you worry about the chest pains, this creates more anxiety, and as your anxiety rises, you can become more focused on the chest pains and your thoughts can turn towards catastrophic assumptions of those symptoms. It’s the anxiety that is creating the problem in the first place.
So, can anxiety cause chest pains? We now know they can and I hope this information goes some way towards helping you place things into perspective. Don’t over worry about your chest pains, they are more than likely just a result of experiencing too much stress and anxiety in your life. Of course if you are very concerned about your chest pains, then please consult your doctor.
So how do you get rid of your chest pains?
Learn to reduce your anxiety and you’ll find more than likely those annoying chest pains start to fade away, along with all the other anxiety related symptoms. Once you have determined that your chest pains are being brought on by the stress in your life you can then begin to take steps to reduce this stress to a much more manageable level. Find out if the stress is coming from your workplace or whether it is coming from your home life. If it is work then you should look at possible ways to counter it. If your current position requires you to have hectic deadlines and is high stress then you should consider moving to another position. Even if you take a small pay cut it will pay off in the long run. You will save money on doctor bills and lost work days.
If your stress is coming from your home life then you should identify the causes. If you and your spouse are having issues or if you are having problems with an unruly child then some counseling may definitely be in order. Sometimes a family counselor can put things into perspective for everyone due to their impartiality. It is very important to treat your chest pains caused by the stress in your life. If you continue to deal with them without getting treatment you are setting yourself up for major health problems. The day may come when that chest pain is actually the onset of a heart attack. Treat it now before it gets to that point. It will save you time and money in the long run as well as saving your family the heartache of possibly losing you.
Chest pain stress is no joke!