Can Anxiety Cause Chest Pains? Explained

Published on April 8th, 2023

Last updated on April 8th, 2023

chest pains

Did you know that an estimated 20% to 70% of panic attacks include chest discomfort? Some people feel stressed every day and do not pay attention to occurred pain. They get used to it and do not see any problems, as it becomes the norm. A person experiences anxiety chest pain symptoms because of mental health problems. They also experience other symptoms of a panic attack. They include:

  • increased sweating;
  • trembling;
  • shortness of breath;
  • abdominal discomfort;  
  • nausea.

Many people also confuse a panic attack with a heart attack. But, a heart attack results from a physical problem. As a rule, it is a blocked artery. And the pain in the chest when stressed is due to anxiety and especially fear. So you have to highlight events that took place before the pain.

If the chest pain occurs because of panic, it should disappear in 10 minutes. But sometimes, it can have much longer durability. It depends on the causes and individual features. This article will examine this problem and explain how to deal with it.

What Are The Chest Anxiety Symptoms?

Chest anxiety symptoms can be uncomfortable for people. These symptoms can include:

  • tightness;
  • pressure in the chest area.

Shortness of breath, sweating, and dizziness go with them. Chest pain from stress is often described as sharp or stabbing. You can feel it in different parts of your chest.

This pain can come and go. It lasts from a few minutes to a few hours. Some people experience palpitations or irregular heartbeats. It can also cause anxiety. The other symptoms include:

  • severe palpitations of the heart;
  • tingling or numbness, usually in the hands and feet;
  • a dull, persistent aching soreness;
  • a feeling of tightness in the chest;
  • gastrointestinal disturbances;
  • nausea and vomiting;
  • diarrhea;
  • burning sensation inside the body or on the skin;
  • headaches and muscle tension;
  • muscle twitching or cramping;
  • rapid breathing.

It’s important to note that doctors can often mistake chest anxiety symptoms. They can confuse them with heart disorders. But, if you are experiencing such symptoms, we recommend an appointment with a professional.

This is how you rule out any underlying medical conditions. Your doctor will perform a physical exam. They can also prescribe extra tests, such as an electrocardiogram (ECG) or stress test.

If doctors don’t find an underlying medical condition, the chest pain can be due to anxiety. Anxiety is a normal stress response and can be beneficial in small doses.

What Are The Triggers For Chest Pain From Stress?

Triggers for chest pain from stress can include:

  • Emotional distress;
  • Physical tension;
  • Increased heart rate;
  • And blood pressure.

Let’s consider some of these triggers in more detail:

  • Stress. Stress is a common trigger for anxiety and chest pain. When people are under stress, their body releases stress hormones. These are adrenaline and cortisol. They can tense the muscles in the chest, leading to chest pain;
  • Traumatic events. Traumatic events can cause anxiety symptoms in the chest. These can include:
    • accidents;
    • abuse;
    • evidence of violence.
  • Lifestyle factors. Poor sleep, diet, and lack of exercise can also contribute to anxiety and chest pain. When a person’s body does not get the nutrients and exercise, it can lead to chest pain;
  • Exposure to triggers. People with anxiety also experience pain increase when exposed to triggering factors;
  • A person afraid of flying can experience chest pain during an airplane flight.

What Are The Consequences Of Chest Pain From Stress? 

Chest pain caused by stress, also known as stress-induced chest pain, is usually not a sign of a serious medical condition such as a heart attack or pulmonary embolism. But, the consequences of chest pain from stress can still be significant. They affect a person’s quality of life. Here are some of the consequences of chest pain from stress:

  • Anxiety and panic attacks. Chest pain can cause anxiety and panic attacks. It can be very distressing and significantly affect a person’s quality of life.
  • Depression. It can also lead to depression, making it difficult to enjoy life and function normally.
  • Poor sleep. Pain in the chest when stressed can interfere with sleep, leading to fatigue and other health problems.
  • Reduced quality of life. The pain can reduce a person’s quality of life and make it difficult to perform daily activities.
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Chronic stress can increase a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular diseases like high blood pressure and heart disease.

How Do You Distinguish Between a Heart Attack And Chest Anxiety Symptoms?

chest pain caused by anxiety

In a heart attack, you can experience the following:

  1. The pain tends to feel more like intense pressure. A sensation of pain or burning can go with it, and some even confuse it with heartburn;
  2. The pain gets progressively worse and does not go away over time;
  3. The localization of the pain begins in the chest but irradiates to:
    • neck;
    • jaw;
    • shoulder;
    • one or both arms;
    • upper back, or upper abdomen.
  4. Sweating, nausea, and dizziness can be associated with chest pain in women than men;
  5. Chest pain occurs from physical activity and not necessarily during moments of stress;
  6. The symptoms last longer and don’t just go away. They can lead to devastating effects that can be permanent;
  7. Chest pain during a heart attack can result from physical activity and overexertion. It can be lifting a heavy box or shoveling snow. People with underlying cardiovascular disease especially feel this.

Some people experience chest pain related to anxiety in different ways. Although it is usually limited to the chest area. But, most people who experience chest pain with a heart attack describe the pain as:

  • squeezing;
  • severe;
  • aching.

It spreads from the chest to the arms, shoulders, back, and jaw. Anxiety symptoms in the chest related to the heart usually last more than a few minutes. It is an attack-like nature.

Often people with anxiety concentrate excessively on their physiological symptoms. This leads to increased symptoms and catastrophizing due to negative thoughts.

They create a state of fear of losing control. It is essential to understand that anxiety is due to tension and insecurity. In other words, it is the body’s response to real or perceived stress.

How To Relieve Chest Pain When Stressed?

The best way to treat stress is through relaxation techniques. There are many other ways to relieve anxious chest pains, including:

  1. Start by slowing your breathing. It can also help you cut anxiety-causing chest pains. Try breathing in slowly through your nose on the count of 5. And slowly exhale on the count of 5 through your mouth. You should see your belly rise or fill with air like a balloon. Repeat this cycle several times until you get rid of all unwanted sensations. Practice daily as you feel your restlessness growing;
  2. Keep a proper diet and eat less junk food to cut pain in the chest when stressed. We also recommend taking liquid supplements. They can greatly boost your immune system;
  3. Try progressive relaxation techniques, including focusing on slowly tensing. And then finish by relaxing each muscle group. This can help you focus on the difference between muscle tension and relaxation;
  4. Take your attention away from anxiety symptoms chest;
  5. Listen to some soothing music;
  6. For some people, biofeedback works wonders. Some types are usually performed in a professional setting. But many wearable devices and apps can:
    • measure heart rate;
    • check breathing;
    • relax muscles.
  7. If a doctor prescribes anti-anxiety medication, ensure you don’t miss any doses. Because such drugs are designed for a course. You will get severe side effects if you don’t stop taking these medications during pain in your chest when stressed. You will also need a larger dose next time, which also hurts your health.

How To Prevent Chest Pain From Stress?

Simple changes in your lifestyle can go a long way toward preventing chest pain with anxiety. These include:

  • Regular breathing exercises. Many studies have proven that regular exercise, especially cardiovascular and aerobic exercise, is vital. So you can release tension and improve your mood. It lowers your stress levels and increases overall confidence to prevent anxiety;
  • Avoid caffeine, smoking cigarettes, and excessive alcohol consumption, as they can increase anxiety;
  • Stabilizing blood sugar levels. They can also prevent anxiety symptoms chest by avoiding spikes in glucose levels. This is achieved through a regular and well-balanced, healthy diet;
  • Dietary changes. A diet can help treat chest pain. You should choose food low in saturated and trans fats, sodium, and added sugars. It should be high in whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats like nuts and seeds. Omega-3 fatty acids can also be beneficial. And, of course, remember about other supplements that bring you a happy mind.

Preventing a problem is much easier than solving it. That’s why we strongly recommend using our tips.

Bottom Line

Although chest pain with anxiety is dangerous, it can be dealt with. It is essential to find methods that work for you. Treatment of anxiety-causing chest pains can include nutritional supplements. 

Take quality vitamins! Remember, you can find these vitamins in The Drop store. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions about our products.


How can anxiety-related chest pains be treated?

You can treat anxiety-related chest pains with therapy, medication, and self-care practices. Therapy helps identify the underlying causes of anxiety and develop coping strategies. Medications reduce these symptoms. Self-care practices help manage anxiety-related pains.

Are anxiety-related chest pains dangerous?

While anxiety-related chest pains can be distressing, they are not typically dangerous. But, it’s essential to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

Can anxiety-related chest pains last for a long time?

Yes, anxiety-related chest pains can last long, especially if the underlying anxiety is not effectively managed. However, it’s important to note that chest pains that last for an extended period can also indicate an underlying medical condition.

What does anxiety feel like in the chest?

Anxiety can cause physical sensations in the chest, such as tightness, pressure, or heaviness. It can also feel like a racing heartbeat, palpitations, or shortness of breath. These sensations can be distressing and can lead to further anxiety or panic.

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