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Chest Pain And Anxiety: Is There Any Link?

27 Dec 2022 6 mins read

Chest pain is really dreadful which can end you up in emergency room. Only a few people can get to know that there is a heart problem. Mostly, it happens because of anxiety. Chest pain and anxiety has a strong relationship.

But it never means that you will blame anxiety alone. Even it is not worthy to delay the medical care by putting yourself at risk of heart attack. If your stress causes heart pain then know about it more from this blog.

Also Read : Bad Effect of Stress from Head to Toe

What is anxiety?

What is anxiety?

It refers to the natural reaction of the body to threat which is immediate or about to happen in future. While feeling anxious, the brain will send hormone automatically for activating the fight-or-flight response. When there is any unwanted situation the natural reaction of the brain energizes enabling you to deal with threat or react and escape the situation as fast as you can.

How anxiety leads to chest pain?

Brain starts releasing cortisol and adrenaline when you are anxious! As a result, it triggers the rise in blood pressure and heart rate. Several people witness sweating and chest pain along breathing shortness. As a result it narrows down the arteries in heart and cells into the heart. So, you experience cardiomyopathy that is identical to heart attack.

The symptoms will also change in the electrical activity of heart. Although it will heal within a couple of weeks or days yet you can experience abnormal heart beat and congestive heart failure.

The cortisol and adrenaline level will not back down in normal in the patients having anxiety problems like post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder and anxiety disorder. Chronological higher level of hormone will lead to panic attack heightening the chance of cardiovascular disease.

Symptoms of cardiac chest pain vs. anxiety

It is really hard but not impossible to determine the difference within chest pain due to stress and anxiety-induced chest pain. However, both can result in:

  • Dreadful and out of control feeling
  • Heart palpitations
  • Sweating and numbness in hands and feet
  • Breathing shortness
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Trembling
  • Fluctuation in body temperature
  • Chest pain

However, every person gets unique symptoms regardless of the cause. That’s why you should see a doctor whenever experiencing heart pain.

  • Pain location

Chest pain due to heart attack spread all over chest and transmit through arms, shoulders and jaw. However, chest pain due to anxiety will always limit to the chest.

  • Pain patterns

If there is heart attack chest pain then it will start at slow pace getting worse gradually. But anxiety attack can lead in sudden chest pain which improves at slow rate. Several patients find that chest pain from stress subside down in 10 minutes! However, anxiety-associated issues last for a few hours even after improvement of pain.

Heart attack vs. anxiety chest pain

Heart attack vs. anxiety chest pain

Although heart attack is quite common in India only 2%-4% of people with chest pain visit the doctor to seek heart issue diagnosis. Nonetheless, chest pain is alarming and it can happen because of heart attack.

Although there are similarities between pain from heart attack and anxiety chest pain some notable differences are also there. Heart attack takes place because of blockage in coronary artery of the person. Moreover, chest pain from panic attack or anxiety takes place when a person is resting. If compared to that, heart attack pain develops and invades the active person.

Pain from heart attack travels to several body parts like arms, shoulders and jaw from the chest. However, chest pain from anxiety always remain in chest. You will feel sharper pain if it is anxiety chest pain. When it is pain from heart attack people experience heavy and squeezing pressure.

Even you can notice significance differences in the affects of heart attack and panic attack. While panic attacks are typical in females you can see heart attacks common in males.

When you must visit a doctor?

It is really tough to understand when you are going to have heart attack or panic attack. So, a person needs to seek urgent healthcare if there is severe and sudden chest pain mainly in left and center part of the chest.

One of the most important signs of heart attack comprises of pressure in chest that will last for about 2-3 minutes. However, the pain can radiate to jaw or arm as well. Eventually, you can also experience breathing shortness. 

Remember both cardiovascular problems and panic disorders are completely treatable. All you need is a proper diagnosis from the doctor that will end up by receiving an effective treatment.

What are popular treatment options for anxiety chest pain?

fast recovery with right nutrition

With the help of professionals you can make a significant difference in the lives while having bouts of anxiety and panic attacks. In case you delay the treatment then the conditions will limit the life quality of the person. 

However, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and medications are really efficient to treat panic disorders in several instances. It assists the patient in restructing the thoughts so that they can figure out and keep certain anxiety triggers at bay. 

Even several steps are there you can adapt to reduce and manage anxiety symptoms along with chest pain.

You must try out the following tricks at home to do the job for you:

  • Look for safe shelter- You need to get a safe shelter where you can live comfortably amongst your closed ones and family members.
  • Try deep breathing- Deep breathing will alleviate the anxiety symptoms and you can prevent it from getting worse.
  • This is temporary- If you experience chest pain then remember it will last only for a couple of minutes.
  • Stay positive- Focus on positive and peaceful things to control the symptoms while experiencing panic attack.
  • Take counts- Start counting 1-20 and repeat the procedure to focus at the time of panic attack. It will alleviate the affect.
  • Rate your attack- During panic attack, you should review the state of mind and score it on the scale of 1-10, with 1 is minimum noticeable and 10 most severe. Accordingly, you will be able to manage the anxiety.

What are the lifestyle changes you can make to alleviate the risk?

Here are some lifestyle changes you can bring for reducing the risk:

  • Cutting of edibles loaded with refined sugar
  • Eliminating smoking, alcohol and caffeine
  • Get proper sleep
  • Perform regular exercise


Here we have answered some common questions asked by you on anxiety chest pain.

  • What is the cause of anxiety chest pain on left side?

Anxiety can lead to chest pain on left side. But it can point out to pericarditis and heart attack too. So, the person must go to doctor to seek urgent medical care. 

  • What should one do if the anxiety chest pain doesn’t subside down?

Sometimes, you may develop anxiety chest pain fast and it will fade quickly too. In case, it doesn’t fade away and increase gradually then you are having a heart attack. Just rush to the hospital or visit a doctor as early as possible.


Chest pain is common occurrence for both panic attacks and anxiety. If you get such frequent attacks then there is significant anxiety disorder. Fortunately, these are completely treatable; all you need to do is to get checked up by the doctor so that they can provide most appropriate treatment.

You are recommended to see a cardiologist as soon as possible once you experience chest pain. To get more information about chest pain, click here