Anxiety Chest Pain (A guide)

In this article, “Anxiety chest pain,” we will present what anxiety chest pain feels like, its causes, as well as the difference between anxiety chest pain and heart attack chest pain.

You will also get some helpful tips to reduce chest pain.

The Differences Between Anxiety Chest Pain and Heart Attack Chest Pain

People often connect anxiety attack symptoms with other conditions.

For example, people who often experience anxiety, worry that anxiety chest pain can be connected to a heart attack, which is possible too, as, besides anxiety, chest pain is a symptom of a heart attack too.

To help you not to confuse these two conditions, we will present their main differences.

AnxietyHeart attackSymptoms
💙💙Increased heart rate

💙Constant chest pain
💙💙Shortness of breath
💙
Sharp chest pain starts quickly and lasts for 5-10 minutes. It fades fast

💙Chest pain starts slowly and increases gradually. It lasts longer than 10 minutes
💙
Chest pain while the person is at rest

💙Chest pain while the person is active
💙
Chest pain remains in the chest and does not spread

💙Radiating pain that spreads from chest to other parts of the body, such as jaw, shoulders, or arms
💙
Sharp chest pain 

💙Chest pain feels like a squeezing, heavy pressure

What does Anxiety Chest Pain Feel Like?

Anxiety chest pain usually it feels like:

  • Acute, burning and dull ache,
  • Constant chest ache,
  • Stabbing pressure,
  • Chest tension,
  • Muscle spasm in the chest.

Anxiety Chest Pain Causes

Mechanisms that can cause anxiety chest pain are related to the cardiac system, mechanisms not related to the cardiac system, or both kinds of mechanisms. 

Anxiety chest pain causes connected to cardiac system mechanisms can be:

  • Increased blood pressure,
  • Increased heart rate,
  • Coronary artery spasms,
  • Increased demand of oxygen in the heart,
  • Increased resistance of small blood vessels in the heart.

Anxiety chest pain causes that are not connected to the cardiac system can be:

  • Hyperventilation,
  • Esophageal disorder,
  • Muscle tension in the body, especially in the chest,
  • Increased heartbeat (increased muscle tension in the chest).

Other possible causes of Physical Chest Pain

Other possible causes of physical chest pain can be:

  1. Lifting or moving something substantial – “The rib cage, the muscles between the ribs, and where they connect to the back and breastbone are pretty sensitive to trauma,” Aaron Baggish, M.D., director of the Cardiovascular Performance Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center in Boston.
  1. You are in your period – Chest pain can be connected to your breast pain occurring in your periods.
  1. Your chest pain occurs because of specific triggers, such as dust, smoke, exercise, cold air, or others.
  1. You have risk factors of heart disease, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, or being over 55 for women, and over 45 for men, and other factors.

Tips to Deal With Anxiety Chest Pain

The following tips may help you reduce chest pain caused by generalized anxiety disorder:

Practice breathing techniques.

Practicing breathing techniques can help you deal with chest pain. You can try, for example, these:

  • Count while breathing – you can say in mind one, two while breathing in, and three, four while breathing out.
  • Breath through your abdomen – put your hand on your chest, and the other on your stomach, then while breathing, try not to move your hand that is on chest, and move only the one on your stomach. Breathing into your abdomen makes your midriff stretched, which relaxes the muscles that tighten, making you feel like it is difficult to breathe.

Analyze to figure out the reason for your worries.

Analyze your thoughts and feelings to figure out the reason for your worries.

It is possible that the thing causing worries, is not under your control, and you cannot do anything about it, or if you can, you will think about it and may find some solutions.

Practice visualization technique.

Practice visualization technique.

Find a peaceful place, sit or lie comfortably, and close your eyes, imagining that you are in a place where you feel calm and good.

Imagine the place in details surrounding you, as well as visualize yourself in a relaxed and happy mood.

Putting nice relaxing music may increase the effectiveness of the technique. 

Practice meditation.

It would help if you practiced meditation to reduce stress anxiety symptoms, including chest pain.

For that, you can join a class, or use a particular app, like Headspace.

Change your lifestyle.

Lifestyle changes can also help you reduce anxiety.

For that, it is recommended to get enough sleep, eat healthy food, practice regular physical exercises, and avoid using caffeine, alcohol, and smoking.

To improve your sleep, Light Therapy has proven to be helpful in getting a good quality of sleep. Use night lamps to help you regulate your sleep. If you have simple tastes, you can check the Best Light Bulb for Anxiety, if you are a mystic, you can also find the Best Salt Lamp for Anxiety.

Get professional help.

Mental health professionals can help you to treat anxiety and get rid of their symptoms, like chest pain.

Psychotherapists can help you, for example, through CBT, which helps you realize that your anxiety is based on false alarms of fear, and allows you to cope with certain conditions, that cause anxiety, instead of avoiding them.

You can get a professional help from a doctor to get prescribed medications that can help to reduce or relieve anxiety symptoms.

Recommended books and sources

  1. Chest Pain: When and When Not to Worry
  2. Anxiety Relief: Self Help (With Heart) For Anxiety, Panic Attacks, And Stress Management
  3. Anxiety: Panicking about Panic: An authoritative, self-help guide for those suffering from an Anxiety or Panic Disorder 
  4. Chest Pain: Advanced Assessment and Management Skills 
  5. Video – Anxiety Chest Pain; Get to Know Anxiety
  6. HFNE “Shortness of Breath Anxiety”
  7. HFNE “Holland and Barrett Anxiety”

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

FAQs about the topic “Anxiety Chest Pain.”

How long does anxiety chest pain last?

Anxiety chest pain usually lasts for 5-10 minutes, while the other symptoms can last longer (up to an hour).

In contrary to anxiety chest pain, which starts suddenly and fades quickly, heart attack chest pain lasts more than 10 minutes, and starts slowly, increasing gradually.

Can anxiety feel like a heart attack?

Anxiety can feel like a heart attack, as even though they are different, they share some symptoms, such as tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, increased heart rate, and dizziness.

Can anxiety cause constant chest pain?

Anxiety can cause frequent chest pain, but if the pain is constant, it may be a symptom of another condition, like a heart attack.

So, it would help if you talked to your doctor.

Can anxiety make you dizzy?

Anxiety can make you dizzy and the opposite.

Dizziness caused by anxiety feels like lightheadedness and an in motion.

If you tend towards anxiety, dizziness and anxiety can interact and worsen anxiety symptoms.

Can anxiety take your life?

Anxiety cannot take your life, although its symptoms (panic attacks, shortness of breath, and others) can make you feel like a heart attack or another condition.

Nevertheless, if you experience anxiety symptoms regularly, you should meet a mental health professional (a doctor or a psychologist).

How do I cope with anxiety?

You can cope with anxiety in some fast ways, such as:

– Practicing relaxation techniques, 

– Practicing physical exercises, 

– Interacting with people (close ones, or meeting new people by joining a social club, or a sports club),

– Going to yoga classes,

– Using aromatherapy, Aroma candles are also used for aromatherapy. Check the Best Candle for Anxiety.

– Drinking tea for anxiety, 

– Avoiding using caffeine and alcohol,

– Quitting smoking,

– Setting up daily goals – If you set up daily goals, and write them
down on a paper, achieving each goal, you should tick it, as it can make you feel better and a little satisfied. 

Conclusion

Even though anxiety chest pain is often confused with heart attack chest pain because of their similarities, however, they have significant differences in symptoms, as we presented above.

Anxiety chest pain, in general, feels like acute, burning and dull ache, constant chest ache, stabbing pressure, chest tension, and muscle spasm in the chest.

If you struggle with anxiety chest pain, there are some tips, including breathing and visualization techniques.

It is also recommended to talk to a mental health professional.

Please feel free to comment on the content or ask any questions in the comments section below.

What we recommend for curbing Anxiety

Below are some of the services and products we recommend for anxiety

Anxiety Weighted Blankets

  • Anxiety Weighted Blankets are by far the number 1 thing every person who suffers from anxiety should at least try. Anxiety Blankets may improve your sleep, allow you to fall asleep faster and you can even carry them around when chilling at home.

Online Therapy

  • Online therapy is another thing we should all try. We highly recommend Online therapy with a provider who not only provides therapy but a complete mental health toolbox to help your wellness.

Anxiety Course

  • With over 50,000 participants, this anxiety course may be just what you need to regain control of your life.

Light Therapy

  • Amber light therapy from Amber lights could increase the melatonin production in your body and help you sleep better at night.  An Amber light lamp helps reduce the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep and increases overall sleep quality.

References

  1. Understanding Anxiety Chest Pain
  2. What you need to know about chest pain and anxiety (Anxiety Chest Pain)

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