Can Stress Cause Chest Pain?

Majority of people who begin to have chest pain immediately seek medical consultation for fear of having a cardiac condition, but in actuality more often than not stress and anxiety comes out to be the cause of the chest pain when all other parameters for a cardiac related chest pain have been evaluated and come back negative. An anginal chest pain is usually dull squeezing type pain in the chest with a burning sensation beneath the breastbone whereas chest pain due to stress is more sharper. Chest pain may also be caused due to anxiety and stress, but it is always advisable that if an individual is suffering from chest pain then he or she gets a thorough evaluation to rule out cardiac factors causing the symptoms.

Causes Of Chest Pain Due To Stress

Causes Of Chest Pain Due To Stress

When an individual is under extreme amount of stress and has an anxiety attack then the heart rate, respirations, blood pressure, and oxygen consumption increase all of a sudden. When this happens, the muscles become tense and the blood flow is immediately diverted to vital areas, which results in dilation of certain blood vessels and constriction of other vessels causing pain in the chest.

If an individual undergoes extreme emotional trauma or excitement, breathing from the upper part of the chest becomes rapid and poor exchange of carbon dioxide in the lower part of the lungs further reduces the amount of oxygen, which reaches the heart thus resulting in anginal pain.

Although it may be very scary but chest pain due to stress and anxiety is basically harmless and does not cause any damage to the heart muscles, but it definitely heightens the anxiety of the individual since it gives a feeling as if the individual is having a heart attack and the symptoms may in turn worsen. In some instances this pain tends to come and go frequently and may occur without any prior warning.

Why Is It Important To Understand The Symptoms Of Stress Causing Chest Pain?

It is extremely important to understand the symptoms of stress and anxiety as it then helps in controlling the symptoms in a much better way. The most important feature of a stress response is the effect it has on the cardiovascular system of the body. If an individual is continuously overwhelmed then the brain picks it up and signals an alert. The most serious issue about stress is that it can easily infiltrate the life of an individual and without him or her realizing it can make the individual virtually disabled due to the symptoms. Thus, it is always important to have a positive attitude towards life and to take pressure as it comes which strengthens the physical and mental health of an individual.

Remedies To Get Rid Of Chest Pain Due To Stress

The best way to cope up with chest pain due to stress is to manage stress in life in a better way, which is by regular exercise, getting adequate sleep, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If an individual starts enjoying whatever he or she does then it also helps in reducing overall stress and thus keeps the symptoms at bay. Other methods of keeping stress under control are by practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises, biofeedback, or yoga. There are also medications available which helps in relaxing the mind and help reduce stress and anxiety. For this, the individual needs to consult with a psychiatrist who can formulate a detailed medication program. All in all, the best way to cope up with stress is to stay relaxed come what may.

Some of the natural remedies to reduce stress and anxiety causing chest pain are:

Use of Passionflower: Passionflower is a herb which has been for a long time considered extremely beneficial for anxiety and relieving stress. Some studies have shown that it can be even compared to benzodiazepines when it comes to its effectiveness. Although it is not proved but it is believed that it works by increasing GABA levels in the brain which tends to relax the individual. Passionflower is available in numerous forms like tea, liquid extracts, and tinctures and can be easily incorporated in the diet but it is not recommended for children, pregnant females, and females who are breastfeeding. It is advisable to contact the physician before incorporating Passionflower into the diet.

Massage: Massage has been known to relieve stress for a long time. Massage tends to relax the muscles which get tensed due to stress and thus control pain and improve circulation which relaxes the mind significantly.

Meditation: This is also one of the ancient forms of relaxation. Practicing meditation about half an hour a day can do wonders for an individual in relaxing the mind. It helps a great deal in throwing negative thoughts out of the mind and thus helps in relaxation.

Exercise: This is by far the best way to relieve stress, bet it by doing yoga, Tai Chi, or even running, exercise helps a great deal in relaxing the mind and reliving stress and anxiety. When an individual exercises, it releases endorphins into the brain which goes a long way in improving the mood of an individual.

Better Organization: If an individual is better organized in life then there remains little room for stress. If an individual does a lot of running around at work then keeping a note of things to do helps a great deal.

Healthy Lifestyle: It is imperative to maintain a healthy eating habit and staying away from junk food, excessive caffeine use, alcohol, and smoking. Try and eat a healthy diet to include whole grains and protein which goes a long way in improving mood and relieve stress. Some of the foods which are helpful for reducing stress are blueberries, salmon, and almonds.

Sleep: If an individual is able to get a good night’s sleep then it is more than enough to reduce stress as if an individual gets very little sleep it tends to make that individual sluggish and depressed. It is important to have a good sleep-wake schedule and going to bed on time and getting up on time.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 8, 2019

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