Anxiety Chest Pain: Identify & Treat
We know that taking care of our mental health affects us emotionally, spiritually, and cognitively. However, mental health affects people physically in crucial ways.
Anxiety is a mental health condition that manifests itself physically throughout one’s body. Some physical symptoms of anxiety include:
- Rapid breathing
- Rapid heart rate
- Upset stomach
- Sudden need to urinate
- Muscle tension or twitch
- Chest pains
Anxiety Chest Pains can be caused by rapid breathing that one experiences through anxiety and panic attacks. It can also be caused by stomach and gastrointestinal issues that are impacted by anxiety such as acid reflux. Anxiety can increase acid reflux and therefore increase chances of heartburn.
If you’re experiencing long prolonged chest pains or pains that feel hard to bear, see a medical professional immediately. However, if your visit to the doctor and physical check ups show that you are otherwise very healthy, but still experience pain, you may be experiencing anxiety chest pains.
How do I know if I have Anxiety Chest Pains?
Different people have had different experiences with anxiety chest pains. Sometimes the pain has a sudden onset and disappearance and sometimes the chest pain is chronic.
Pay close attention to when you’re feeling your chest pains, is it in response to a certain situation or stimulus? If you’re enduring a worrisome experience while you’re feeling it or constantly stressed about something, it may be an anxiety chest pain.
Feeling chest pain during a panic attack is another strong indicator of anxiety chest pain.
If you seem to be feeling the pain without any physical exercise and in the presence of your stimulus, this may also indicate anxiety chest pain.
Treatment for Anxiety Chest Pain
– Keeping a Mood Journal or Emotion Tracking App can help you see if your chest pains are due to socio-emotional causes such as anxiety. Note the time, location, and situation you are feeling the chest pains. Ask yourself, “Am I stressed or worried about something?” Being more self-aware will help understand your causes of anxiety chest pain.
– With a therapist, a client can explore their thought processes when presented with an anxiety-inducing situation or stimulus. Understanding the thought pattern that contributes to your anxiety gives you the power to reconstruct that pattern to more logical and safe thoughts. Though it may take time, around five or six sessions, the results are impressive. This is something to consider if you’ve been experiencing chronic anxiety, chest pain, or several episodes of sudden anxiety chest pain.
– Techniques such as Grounding and other mindfulness techniques can help you cope with anxiety and anxiety chest pains. A simple solution is the 5-4-3-2-1 rule. Name 5 things you see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. This simple mindfulness technique helps use distraction to calm your body and physical symptoms such as anxiety chest pains.
– Because anxiety chest pains are such a physical response to anxiety, you can help your body go back to baseline or resting phase through deep breathing exercises. An easy exercise is to inhale for seven counts, hold for three counts, and exhale for five counts.