What Causes Chest Pain
It's always as good idea to visit a doctor at least once and rule out any potential heart health issues. Anxiety causes chest pain, but an important factor in reducing the stress of that chest pain is making sure you're confident your heart is in good health. Visiting a doctor is never a bad thing.
Still, often those living with anxiety and panic attacks will experience chest pain caused by any number of different factors. Some of these include:
- Hyperventilation – Those with panic attacks and anxiety are prone to hyperventilation, or breathing in too much oxygen. It's often due to rapid muscle contractions and excess air in the lungs. Hyperventilation contracts blood vessels and causes considerable chest pain.
- Bloating – Anxiety, in general, tends to cause excess gas or bloating. Hyperventilation disorder can contribute to this as well. Bloating can cause an increased amount of pressure on the lungs, which in turn leads to chest pain.
- Psychosomatic – Most people don't like to believe the idea that the problem is in their head, but those with extreme anxiety and panic attacks that are worried about their health may feel genuine pain even though no cause of pain is present, simply because their mind convinces their body there is pain.
Because chest pain often occurs during anxiety attacks and with other anxiety symptoms, it can be extremely frightening. Nevertheless, often this chest pain is completely harmless
How to Reduce Anxiety and Chest Pain
The best way to control chest pain is with prevention, by reducing your overall anxiety symptoms. The less you experience anxiety, the less risk you'll have for chest pain.
If you're currently experiencing anxiety and chest pain, the best thing to do is the following:
- Control Your Breathing – Recall that this type of chest pain is often caused by hyperventilation, and even if you're not hyperventilating, getting your breathing under control is a great way to calm the nerves. Take slow, controlled breaths using deep breathing techniques that take at least 15 seconds and you'll quickly see a difference.
- Control Your Thoughts – One of the reasons I recommend going to a doctor first is because understanding that your chest pain is anxiety related reduces the severity of the experience. If you know that your heart is in good health, don't let your thoughts spiral out of control. Otherwise you may make the chest pain worse.
- Control Your Environment – Chest pain caused by thoughts or anxieties is often made worse when you sit and focus on the experience. See if you can give yourself a healthy coping distraction, and much of the chest pain will fade away.
If it's caused by gas, trying to let out some of the gas can also help.
Otherwise general anxiety control techniques are the most important strategy for reducing the experience of chest pain.
"Courage is not the abscence of fear, it is feeling afraid and doing it anyway!"
"Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles...it empties today of its strength."
Corrie Ten Boom
Panic Syndrome recovery due to CBT