Published on 14 April 2023

Anxiety And Chest Pain: Symptoms, And Treatment Options

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An average person faces many problems related to their professional or personal life. Sometimes these problems may lead them to anxiety. The National Institute Of Health reported that 31.1% of US adults sometimes experience anxiety. Because of this, people feel anxious and start fearing unusual things.

Some people also experience physical issues while dealing with anxiety. A study was conducted in 2018 where 30% to 40% of people with anxiety visited the hospital due to chest pain not caused by heart problems.

However, many people get confused about anxiety and chest pain and ask, Are they linked? To know more about it, let's see what anxiety is.

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a natural reaction that can be found in anyone. Usually, it increases the level of fear in an individual related to an incident or anything else. Regarding the American Psychological Association psychology, anxiety is an emotion caused by tension or worried thoughts.

As every person is different from others, their anxiety can also be extra. That's why most of them don't understand what type of anxiety they suffer. It is essential to show their condition to the professional so they can treat them properly. The kind of anxiety includes panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and phobia-related disorder.

Symptoms Of Anxiety

As mentioned above, anxiety differs from person to person based on various situations. But their symptoms may be the same as they usually impact in the same way. The following are the symptoms of anxiety.

  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Irritating with everyday things
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Having headaches, muscle aches, and stomachaches
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Nervousness
  • Rapid breathing

Among these symptoms, Chest pain is one of the symptoms of anxiety, which is primarily seen in people.

What Is Chest Pain?

A discomfort or pain in the area of your chest or between the neck and upper abdomen refers to chest pain. It is also known as angina. The causes of chest pain can be associated with different organs, such as the heart, lungs, esophagus, ribs, and muscles.

According to the Wexener medical center, the common reasons for experiencing chest pain include traumatic injury, arthritis, Fibromyalgia, acid reflux, pneumonia, heart conditions, and anxiety. 

Link Between Anxiety And Chest Pain 

When people feel anxious about something they fear most, they suddenly start thinking about unusual things, increasing their stress levels. This may impact them physically by pain in the chest. Yes, anxiety causes chest pain, but it doesn't mean it is responsible for this situation.

Many people feel anxious daily for various reasons but never experience chest pain as they reduce their anxiety in less time. Usually, The intensity of chest pain depends on how frequently they suffer from anxiety. To know more about their link below.

How Does Anxiety Cause Chest Pain?

When you feel anxious, your body releases two stress hormones: cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones raise your heart rate and blood pressure. As a result, people start experiencing pain in the chest, sweating, or difficulty breathing.

The sudden release of adrenaline can narrow the heart's arteries and attach them to its cells. This situation is known as cardiomyopathy. This can be cured within a few days or weeks but may weaken heart muscles.

Anxiety can also cause hyperventilation when you breathe too deeply or instantly, then the amount of carbon dioxide decreases in your blood. This can tighten the blood vessels in your body, including your chest, which can cause chest pain.

What Does anxiety induced Chest Pain Feel Like?

The anxiety-induced chest pain may differ from person to person as per their conditions. This can usually feel sharp or stabbing in the chest suddenly, even if the person is inactive. Similar to anxiety, Some people may face chest pain gradually, whereas others face it instantly, but mostly, it feels like;

  • Chest tension or tightness:  You might experience a sudden tightness in your chest while feeling frequently anxious. There are some possibilities for experiencing difficulty breathing or your heart hitting your chest.
  • Chest Burning:  You may also experience a constant ache in your chest, similar to heartburn. If this happens to you, then immediately contact your doctor.
  • Numbness:  Your chest may feel numb when anxiety hits your mind constantly. It is like moving your legs after sitting in one position for a while.

How Long Does Anxiety Chest Pain Last?

Most people think that anxiety-induced chest pain is the same as heart conditions which may last longer and need costly treatment, but it's not like that. As per some experts, anxiety chest pain occurs quickly and wipes off quickly, and facing it, you will start feeling better in 10 minutes. Even after a few minutes, some people may face pain in their chest due to muscle contractions.

If in case you recognize that your anxiety chest pain last for more than the usual time, then contact your doctor soon.

Difference Between Chest Pain And Heart Attack  

Many people think that chest pain and heart attack are similar to each other cause they are linked to the human body. But in-depth, there are some differences between them which should be clarified.

Anxiety Chest Pain

Heart Attack

It occurs only in the central chest. This pain occurs in the shoulder blades, arm, jaw, or neck.
Chest pain is often reported as a stabbing effect. A heart attack has a more crushing effect than a stabbing. 
While suffering from chest pain, you may experience a burning sensation in your hands and fingers. Suffering from a heart attack, you may also experience a burning sensation as chest pain in the shoulder and upper arm.
It mainly occurs due to stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. It happens when a part of a heart muscle doesn't get sufficient blood.
Chest pain is usually solved within minutes, Or An hour. A Heart attack needs treatment to be cured. 
Chest pain usually last for 10 minutes.  Heart attacks last for 20 minutes, depending on the situation.

Efficient Ways To Overcome Anxiety Chest Pain

Many people think chest pain is a severe issue that professionals can only treat,  but it primarily depends on why it is causing it. If it's caused because of anxiety, then, first of all, learning to manage your stress is essential. Chest pain can be a common symptom of fear, exacerbating anxious feelings. However, there are ways to relieve chest tightness from anxiety:

Learn Breathing Exercises

Breathing is essential to human life; humans and living things can't live without breathing. Learning breathing exercises such as taking a deep breath as much as possible and gradually releasing it can lead you towards positivity. This also impacts your mental health positively. Some experts say deep breathing can help you reduce your heart rate and stop anxiety.

Use Relaxation Techniques

Techniques like meditation or visualizing yourself in a peaceful world where only you can hear yourself can calm your mind. Most assume anxiety and chest pain as bad experiences but deep down; they can be managed with relaxation techniques. Even there are a lot of apps and websites are there where you can find different relaxation techniques.

Maintain General Health 

Maintaining your general health is one of the essential parts of life if you want to be physically and mentally fit. Because it is seen that physical exercises like running, cycling, etc., can have the potential to reduce anxiety. While exercising, your body releases chemicals like serotonin that make you happy and relaxed. It is also advisable to limit your caffeine and alcohol intake as it may increase anxiety.

Get Enough Sleep 

It is known that anxiety impact on sleep too. But keeping your anxiety aside by doing regular work can increase your sleep. Experts always say a person should sleep 7 to 9 hours at night.

When To Seek Professional Advice

As experts say, Chest pain lasts for 10 minutes, but it doesn't mean that it should be ignored. It is advisable to inform your doctor whenever you experience chest pain. Most people assume that anxiety will be gone in a few minutes, but they should consult a doctor because it may also come back.

If in case you experience physical symptoms too, then get treatment from a professional one. Cognitive behavioral therapy ( CBT) is a therapy that is proven beneficiary in treating chest pain induced by anxiety.

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Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions

Anxiety and Chest pain are both linked to each other. In some cases, it is reported that many people had gone through chest pain not caused by any heart condition. Usually, when you feel anxious, your body releases two hormones; adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones increase your heart rate and blood pressure, which leads to chest pain.

Anxiety chest pain last for 10 minutes or maybe more than it, depending on the condition, but it should not be neglected. As doctors always say, if you have chest pain, speak with your doctor about it.

Chest pain caused by anxiety can be treated in various ways, such as through relaxation techniques. It can also be treated through medication and therapies like CBT under the guidance of professionals.