What Is Chest Pain Due To Anxiety?

An Anxiety Attack can cause many different symptoms in the affected individual but the most frightening of all the symptoms is the chest pain that occurs as a result of an anxiety attack. It is a frightening pain because chest pain is more often than not considered as an indicator for a cardiac issue which causes the affected individual to start worrying more about his or her health but the fact of the matter is that chest pain is one of the most common symptoms of an Anxiety Disorder. Chest pain can be caused due to both anxiety as well as panic attacks and is caused due to a phenomenon called hyperventilation as a result of anxiety.

What Is Chest Pain Due To Anxiety?

This article will help you differentiate between chest pain caused by anxiety and chest pain caused by cardiac related factors, and how to get rid of anxiety induced chest pain but first let us know its causes.

What Are The Causes Of Chest Pain Due To Anxiety?

Some of the common causes of Chest Pain due to Anxiety Attack are:

Hyperventilation: Hyperventilation is a process in which an individual inhales too much oxygen because anxiety causes quick muscle contractions in the lungs resulting in too much oxygen being inhaled. As a result of hyperventilation, there is significant contraction of the blood vessels in the lungs causing chest pain.

Bloating: Anxiety generally causes formation of excessive gas. Hyperventilation also contributes to the formation of gas significantly. Due to excessive gas formation and resultant bloating, there is increased pressure on the lungs causing chest pain.

Psychosomatic Pain: Psychosomatic disorder is a problem in which an individual with severe anxiety and panic attacks feel that they are having pain in their chest whereas there is no known cause for chest pain. It is just because the affected individual's mind convinces the body that there is extreme pain.

Chest pain is quite common and frequent in people who have anxiety disorder and can significantly scare the individual but the fact of the matter is that this pain is totally harmless.

How To Get Rid Of Chest Pain Due To Anxiety

What Are The Symptoms Apart From Chest Pain That An Individual Can Have Due To Anxiety?

Apart from chest pain, some of the other symptoms an individual with Anxiety Disorder would experience are:

  • Rapid heartbeat along with profuse sweating, nausea, and dizziness
  • Tingling in the legs
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fear of losing control
  • Fear of the worst happening
  • Weakness in the neck.

How To Differentiate Between Chest Pain Due To Anxiety And Chest Pain Due To Cardiac Factors?

There is no clear cut way of knowing whether a chest pain is being caused by anxiety or whether it is a cardiac related pain but there are some subtle differences which are illustrated below:

Chest Pain Due to Anxiety: Chest pain caused due to anxiety tends to be more sharper. This pain is generally localized to a specific region. It is usually near the middle of the chest

Chest Pain Due to Cardiac Problems: Chest pain caused due to cardiac causes tends to be a radiating pain which radiates to the shoulder on the left side and the jaw. This pain tends to be dull in nature. It is a squeezing type of pain and lasts longer than 10 minutes. There is also difficulty with breathing.

Both chest pain due to anxiety and due to cardiac issues are quite similar and it is always better to get checked up for cardiac causes in case an individual experiences persistent chest pain just to be on safer side.

How To Get Rid Of Chest Pain Due To Anxiety?

In order to control chest pain caused due to anxiety, it is always best to control the anxiety as once the anxiety is controlled the chest pain symptoms automatically get controlled. The following steps can be taken to reduce anxiety and thus help with chest pain due to anxiety.

Controlled Breathing: As stated above, the chest pain due to anxiety is more often than not caused due to hyperventilation hence it is important to control breathing so that excess oxygen does not get to the lungs and also controlled breathing helps calm down the nerves and thus makes an individual feel relaxed and less anxious. The best way to do this is to use deep breathing techniques.

Sit with the back straight and the hands on the thighs. Now, close the eyes. While doing this ensure to keep the tip of tongue at the top of the mouth. Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth.

Now, start inhaling slowly for about five seconds, push out the stomach such that the lower lungs are filled with air. Hold the breath for about 10 seconds and then exhale normally. Pause for a couple of seconds and perform the same exercise again. You will get relief from chest pain due to anxiety.

Controlling Thoughts: Once it is confirmed that the chest pain is caused due to anxiety, this itself will bring a great relief for the individual and help the individual in relaxing and calming down. This allows the thoughts of the individual to be more controlled.

Controlling Environment: The best way to cope with chest pain due to anxiety is by distracting the thought from the symptom that is being experienced. If the individual keeps focusing on the symptom then it will make the symptom much worse but once distracted within no time the chest pain usually goes away.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: June 1, 2015

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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