How To Tell The Difference Between Anxiety Chest Pain And Cardiac Chest Pain
There’s no guaranteed method of knowing whether or not chest pain is caused by anxiety or by a heart problem. But generally the two differ in their overall experience:
Anxiety Chest Pain
- Is usually more localized to a specific area.
- Closer to the middle of the chest, although not necessarily.
Cardiac Chest Pain
- Tends to radiate all around the shoulder and possibly the jaw.
- Tends to be a duller pain, like the heart is being crushed.
- Lasts longer than 10 minutes or more.
There are a lot of similarities between the two. Both may have lightheadedness or dizziness and feel like the heart is being squeezed. Both can make it harder to breathe . It’s not easy to tell the difference, but the differences are there. Furthermore, once you identify what anxiety chest pain feels like for you, in the moment, you may feel more reassured about what your symptoms are indicating .
Symptoms Of Anxiety Vs Cardiac Chest Pain
Its hard, if not impossible, to tell the difference between anxiety-induced chest pain and the pain caused by an underlying heart condition. In addition to your chest pain, both can cause:
- Heart palpitations
- Feeling of dread or being out of control
Everyone experiences slightly different symptoms, whether they have anxiety or a heart problem. For this reason, the following two qualities arent written in stone. However, theyre generally true and may help you determine the cause of your chest pain:
Can Anxiety Cause A Warm And Chest Pain Before A Bowel Movement
I have something that happens to me occasionally that is scary. This is always at rest and I will get very warm, will sometimes develop pain in my chest/sternum or back area and then will have a bowel movement. After the bowel movement, the warm sensation and pain goes away. Is this related to anxiety?
The situation you mentioned could be related to anxiety and how the stress of being anxious can affect the body.
For example, stress has a negative impact on the digestive system. The more stressed the body becomes, the more of an impact it can have. Experiencing digestive symptoms, such as you mentioned, are common when our stress is elevated, and especially when it is persistently elevated.
The symptom you described could be coming from your intestines, and more specifically, your large intestine. The large intestine circles behind the chest area on its way to the anus. If you are having digestive issues caused by stress, you might experience symptoms of digestive problems, such as gas, loose stool, and/or acidy excrement. All of which can cause pain and pressure in the chest/sternum area and the body to feel warm before the excrement exists the body.
The fact that you feel better after a bowel movement suggests it is digestion related, which could be caused by being persistently anxious.
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Why Does Anxiety Cause Chest Tightness
When youre faced with stress, fear, or a challenge that causes anxiety, this activates the flight-or-fight response, which ultimately helps the body prepare to face the danger or protect itself from that danger.
Part of the fight-or-flight response involves tensing the muscles, which can cause feelings of stiffness or tightness in different parts of the body.
When your body is subjected to stress, it also produces higher levels of hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol.
Its suggested that during times of panic,¹ you can experience an increased heart rate, which may cause chest tightness however, the conclusions from research arent clear.
Functional Morbidity With Pd
Studies that have examined quality of life among patients with PD found substantial disability in a variety of psychosocial realms. Data from the ECA found that PD patients had significantly higher rates of perceived poor physical health, social disability, marital dysfunction, and financial dependency , as well as greater psychiatric comorbidity with elevated rates of attempted suicide. Furthermore, these impairments in perceived health and financial and occupational function were present even in patients with panic attacks but without PD. Further analysis of the ECA data found that, among patients with anxiety disorders, PD was associated with the highest rates of unemployment and financial dependence these effects were independent of comorbid depression. Investigations other than the ECA study have confirmed the findings of significant functional disability in patients with PD. A review by Edlund and Swann discussed the high social morbidity associated with PD, and Katon and associates, in 1995, found that both patients with PD and those with infrequent panic attacks had significantly greater social, family and vocational disability than did controls.
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Take Care Of Your Health
The best way to deal with chest tightness due to anxiety is to be proactive about your health. Adopt a healthy lifestyle by incorporating exercise and a healthy balanced diet into your daily routine. Also, cut off excess caffeine, alcohol, and smoking that may adversely affect your mental health by aggravating anxiety.
When To See A Doctor For Anxiety And Chest Pain
You should seek immediate emergency help if you believe youâre experiencing symptoms of a heart attack. Unlike anxiety chest pain, a heart attack is marked by constant pain in the chest radiating outwards that often begins as a result of physical exertion. For more details, see the above chart about the difference between anxiety and heart attack chest pain.
Feeling anxious is a normal part of everyday life and empowers us to be more alert and attentive during important moments. However, if anxiety inhibits your ability to live happily or complete routine and ordinary tasks, itâs time to seek help.
Thereâs no shame in wanting to improve your mental health, and more than 40 million American adults are also dealing with anxiety disorders. You can get anxiety treatment online by booking an appointment with a top doctor here.
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Anxiety Chest Pain: Is It Just In Your Head
Anxiety doesnt just make you feel worried or nervous. Being anxious can also cause physical symptoms. One of the more alarming symptoms can be anxiety-related chest pain. Learn why anxiety can cause chest pain, what you can do about it, and most importantly, how to tell the difference between chest pain caused by anxiety or panic and chest pain related to a heart attack.
Why Do People Experience Chest Pains
Chest pains caused by anxiety are felt as a result of two main causes: a stress response in the brain, called the fight-or-flight response, and acid reflux, or heartburn. Each causes different sensations within the chest. The fight-or-flight response is caused by tension in the muscles of the chest and upper back. Acid reflux is caused when the muscles in the stomach tense, causing pressure in the stomach. This causes stomach acid to travel up to the esophagus, causing a burning sensation.
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How To Stop Chest Pain From Anxiety & Stress In 60 Seconds
Chest pain. Its so scary.
But its less scary if you know its caused by anxiety or a panic disorder.
When most of us suddenly feel our chest hurts, were certain that were dying.
That the chest tightness is a sign that youre going through a heart attack.
That your anxiety disorder is really killing you. Now.
But before you panic any further take a deep Breath.
Anxiety and chest pain are good friends.
Heres how to know if your chest pain is caused by anxiety, and how to stop it in less than a minute. O.k?
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Why Anxiety Causes Chest Pain
There are many physical symptoms that a person can experience when they suffer from anxiety. One symptom that is common in people who suffer from more chronic and severe cases of anxiety is chest pains. Chest pains can create several different types of sensations in the chest, upper back, and sometimes the shoulders, like:
Chest pains caused by anxiety are often mistaken for symptoms of a heart attack, but they are not dangerous. They are simply a reaction to anxiety. Cases of anxiety that commonly create chest pains include:
- Panic disorder
- Severe cases of generalized anxiety
Chest pains caused by anxiety can occur on their own or without an apparent trigger. It is difficult to live with experiencing chest pains because they can disrupt the quality of a persons daily routine. The pain can sometimes become so severe that affected people end up visiting the emergency room because they believe they are experiencing a medical emergency. Though they are not dangerous, chest pains cause a great deal of anxiety and distress within a person, so it is important to understand what causes and alleviates them.
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How You Can Tell If You Are Suffering From Anxiety
The easiest way to determine if you are suffering from anxiety-induced chest tightness is by ruling out any cardiac or lung-related disease. Only a physician can rule these out completely.
A few signs can be helpful in determining if your chest tightness is cardiac-related. This is by no means an all-inclusive list. So, when in doubt, please visit your primary care physician. Generally, the following is more likely to be true of anxiety-related chest tightness and/or pressure:
- It is less likely to radiate towards the back, arms, or shoulders.
- It is more likely to occur with other anxiety symptoms.
- It tends to last for less than 10 minutes.
Again, having chest pain that abides by these suggestions does not rule out any cardiac or pulmonary causes. Also, women, diabetics, and the elderly often present with chest pain that is atypical of traditional cardiac chest tightness. So, if you belong to one of these groups and have new-onset chest pressure and/or tightness, it is best to see a physician first.
Anxiety attacks have a peak time, and that tends to be when the chest pressure is at its worst. Cardiac chest pressure, on the other hand, is more likely to last longer than 15 minutes, radiate, not be relieved with the resolution of anxiety, and be associated with shortness of breath etc.
Remedies To Get Rid Of Anxiety Chest Pain
Once you realize your chest pain doesnt stem from the heart, there are several techniques you can do to reduce the pain and control your anxiety. These often involve training both mind and body, which will take time some time to master. Learning the following techniques can be a great starting point to aid you in controlling your anxiety.
Deep breathing: Practicing deep breaths can calm both the mind and body. Also, when this technique is mastered, it will help normalize heart rate, which is a contributor to chest pain. It is recommended to find a quiet room or area and inhale for 10 seconds, holding for one second, then exhaling for another 10 seconds.Self-realization: If you suffer from a chronic anxiety disorder, one of the first steps is to recognize you have a disorder. This will help your mind and body fully commit to finding treatments and methods that work for you, helping you better control your anxiety.
Visualize a beautiful scene: Thinking of a place that you have been to that made you calm and relaxed and transporting yourself there mentally can be especially helpful in unavoidable moments of anxiousness.
Take care of your health: By taking good care of your body, getting regular exercise, getting enough sleep, and eating well, your body will regulate hormones and also take good care of your mind. While this may not completely eliminate your risk of suffering from anxiety attacks, it will fight against them.
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Frightening Symptoms Of Anxiety
Chest tightness is an anxiety symptom that often causes a severe amount of distress. That is because chest tightness has a negative connotation that links it to severe health conditions. This can be very daunting for individuals who do not know much about the physical effects of stress and anxiety in their lives.
I Suspect That Some Of These Might Be True
- You have been told that your anxiety is incurable
- You have been given medication to take
- Youve been told that coping and anxiety management are the only options
- Youve tried talking therapies and they have failed you
- You may have tried meditation or hypnotherapy but feel just as bad
- You now dont know what to do for the best
- You feel to scared to do, or try, other things
- You want a magic pill to just make it stop
Believe me, Ive been there and I can tell you with absolute certainty that despite how you might be feeling right now, your anxiety wont be permanent and the chest pain, symptoms and thoughts you are experiencing at this moment will, very soon, seem like a distant memory.
For years, I went through school and college and into my early work life not knowing how it felt to be non-anxious I never felt normal, as such, but I never truly understood that no one else felt like I did.
My life revolved around minimizing the risk of an anxiety or panic attack, protecting myself and not doing anything, seeing anything, hearing anything or exposing myself to anything at all that might make me feel worse. I lived like a recluse much of the time.
Many sufferers arent as extreme as that, agreed, but having said that, in the thousands of clients I have helped, many have been EXACTLY like that.
Does that make sense?
Whats unique about me and our organization?
I know all this because I was the same once!!
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Can Anxiety Cause Chest Pain
Yes. Many people who experience anxiety also experience chest pain, especially during anxiety or panic attacks.
Though it can be frightening and painful, anxiety sufferers can take some comfort in knowing that theres a reason for this uncomfortable symptom: Its your brain and body trying to protect you from a real or perceived stressor.
What Are The Physical Symptoms Of Anxiety
Anxiety feels different for everyone and can affect our bodies in different ways. These are some of the physical symptoms of anxiety you might experience:
- faster, shallower breathing
- tightness or pain in the chest
- pins and needles in toes or fingers
- feeling faint or dizzy
- fast, thumping or irregular heartbeat
- raised blood pressure
- needing the toilet more frequently
- churning in the pit of the stomach.
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Know The Difference Between Anxiety And Heart Attack
If youre experiencing symptoms, call 911 immediately. While there are ways to determine the difference between a panic attack and a heart attack, a medical diagnosis is the only way to be sure. Pay special attention to an episode that includes:
These physical indicators can more clearly signal a heart attack.
It is especially important to be aware of your own heart attack risk factors. For example, if youre a smoker with a family history of heart disease and have high blood pressure, youre more likely to experience a heart attack.
If, on the other hand, you experience chronic stress, suffered a recent traumatic event, or have trouble coping with lifes ups and downs, you may be dealing with anxiety. Symptoms of severe anxiety and panic often resemble a heart attack, which can worsen your distress. When anxiety feels like a heart attack, the panic can feel overwhelming. Thankfully, when stressors diminish, the symptoms usually do, too.