When Chest Pain is Actually an Anxiety Symptom ?

by Vlasta Kuster

Chest pain as anxiety symptom is described as a sharp, stabbing sensation that is triggered suddenly. So, when chest pain is actually an anxiety symptom ?

Individuals occasionally face anxiety, fearfulness and nervousness. It is, in fact, a typical response to the unusual situations and events of our daily lives.
However, some people experience anxiety quite often and it may be the case that they unintentionally and unknowingly associate the symptoms of their well-being with other pain or disease conditions.
One of the typical and unpleasant symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks is chest pain. When we first think of it as a heart attack, we can be very scared, but we should know that not every chest pain is a sign of a heart attack. Sometimes these are unpleasant and painful symptoms, symptoms of anxiety.
A study at the University of Texas found that one in ten people who experience a panic attack experience chest pain.

Many people experience pain and as a result, describe the panic attack as one of the most difficult experiences they have ever experienced.   
Anxiety chest pain is described as a sharp, stabbing sensation that is triggered suddenly, and the person is usually subjected to stress or anxiety before the onset of chest pain.
Chest pain caused by anxiety or panic attacks usually lasts about 10 minutes, but in cases where the person is panic-stricken, the symptom can be aggravated and the pain can also last up to 15 minutes.
Common symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks are:

  • dizziness
  • feeling faint
  • shallow breathing

  • shudder
  • changes in body temperature

  • the feeling that we no longer have control over the situation
  • numbness and sweating of the legs and arms
  • chest pain

  • cardiac palpitation

How do we distinguish between chest pain that arises dues to stress and pain that is triggered by a heart attack?

Chest pain is one of the characteristic symptoms of angina and a heart attack, which is why we can switch one pain for the other.

However, there are some obvious differences:

  • Chest pain caused by stress and anxiety usually occurs when we are at rest, while heart attacks usually occur when we are active.

  • A heart attack often spreads from the chest to other parts of the body (to the jaws, shoulders and arms), and chest pain caused by anxiety is limited to the chest area.

  • Stress pain caused by stress usually develops quickly and then fades quickly and a heartache begins to slowly and gradually increase in severity.

  • The pain caused by a heart problem usually lasts for a long time and is exacerbated by physical exertion, while the pain caused by anxiety resolves as soon as we can relax.

What actually causes chest anxiety?

When we are anxious, there is a physical reaction in our body - we start to sweat or we feel short of breath. In a sense of anxiety, the body and brain trigger a stress response that involves a physiological change.

The body becomes tight and tense.

A stress response can also include a psychological or emotional response, which means that we become more aggressive or more easily upset.

When we are stressed or anxious, our body prepares to fight or flight.
Unless the stress or fight-and-flight stress is often experienced, the body should completely recover within 30 minutes.

However when such stress is experienced too often, the body cannot regenerate. This leads to increased muscle tension and pain in the chest.

In a stressful situation, the heart rate increases and because the chest muscles are tight, this leads to unusual pain.

How can we help ourselves?

We can help ourselves with some simple techniques such as:

  • Deep breathing: Deep breaths can calm our mind and body
  • Assess situations: Are you worried about something you cannot control? Talk about your feelings and find out where they come from.    

  • Imagine a wonderful scene: Try to visualize a place that calms you down and, in the meantime, breathe deeply.    

  • Use techniques and exercises to reduce stress and meditate.    

  • Take care of your physical health:

    Do you sleep enough ?

    Do you eat healthy ?    

It is good to take care of your body as well as your mind.

We can never know for sure whether or not we will ever feel anxious chest pain.

Knowing and mastering a variety of techniques will help us and give us the feeling that we are ready and that it will be easier to manage and quickly alleviate chest pain and possible panic attacks.
Better yet, there is a technique that can help relieve anxiety by triggering chest pain and, as a result, triggering panic attacks with EFT therapy.

This is a significant difference and the fact that EFT therapy cannot be compared with the above mentioned guidelines, which offer only a current solution.

Using EFT therapy is the most profound relief, since EFT therapy does not relieve or eliminate symptoms, but with its help we focus on the causes of the problem we are facing and completely eliminate it and relieve ourselves emotionally.



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Vlasta Kuster, holds an MA degree in Basic Medical Sciences and uses her 3-month EFT therapy in her work to help people to do away with panic attacks and anxiety for good. She has more than 10-year experiences in EFT therapy and achieves at least 90% success in permanently eliminating anxiety and panic attacks. You may contact her through her website freeofpanic.com