Understanding Anxiety Related Chest Pain: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment


Have you ever noticed that just before someone gets a heart attack in movies, they are always holding their chest while making pain sounds? Chest pain has always been associated with heart attacks. However, you will be surprised to find out that there is a range of factors besides heart disease that causes chest pain. You should always seek immediate professional help to understand the underlying cause of your chest pains. For those living in Texas, Dr. Shah is among the top Frisco chest pain specialists who offer highly skilled and customized care.

Experts say that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a worsening of mental health conditions. The fear and trauma have especially worsened anxiety disorders. The next section of this article will focus on anxiety-related chest pain, its symptoms, causes, and treatment options.

Reasons for Anxiety-Related Chest Pain

Several studies show that 31 to 56 percent of people suffering from anxiety experience chest pains.


Threats and any form of danger results in a survival reaction whereby the body releases stress hormones. This response is commonly referred to as the ‘fight or flight.’ Once the stress hormones are secreted, the body’s muscles, specifically those in the chest area, will contract.

Muscle contraction will then lead to tightness, chest pain, feelings of numbness as well as uneasiness. Typically, conditioned fear makes people believe that such symptoms are a sign of a heart attack. As a result, this concern and terror worsens the chest pain and also leads to sweating and more panic.

Esophageal spasm

Rapid breathing can lead to muscle tension. This reaction will result in severe pain within the walls of the esophagus, causing chest pains.

The Common Symptoms of Anxiety Chest Pain

Anxiety symptoms vary for everyone, and their severity is different as well. Some of the common symptoms include:

  • Uneasiness
  • Sharp pains
  • Profuse sweating
  • Numbness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle spasms

The Difference Between Anxiety Chest Pain and Heart Attack Pain

While it’s true that anxiety and heart-related chest pain have some similarities, there are ways to differentiate the two. This differentiation is useful in determining whether it’s an emergency and to avoid further panic. Either way, you should visit a doctor as soon as possible.

Heart-attack chest pain occurs when a person is active, whereas anxiety chest pain occurs when the person is at rest. Also, heart attack pain will occur in several body parts, such as jaws and arms. Anxiety chest pain, on the other hand, will only happen in the chest.

Anxiety chest pain often develops rapidly and fades fast, usually after a few minutes. Heart-attack pain will develop slowly as it gradually worsens.

Treatment Options

Home remedies

Deep breathing exercises are an excellent way of calming you whenever you are stressed. By doing several inhale-exhale exercises, your heart rate goes back to normal, hence reducing chest pain.

Maintain your physical and mental health. Eating a balanced diet, doing regular exercises as well as getting enough sleep is crucial in reducing the symptoms of anxiety chest pain.

Seeking professional help

To prevent these symptoms from getting worse, you should visit a qualified physician for the right treatment. The most common treatment options are medications and psychotherapy.

Chest pains are treatable, so you shouldn’t suffer in silence. The team at Prime Heart and Vascular in Frisco offer telemedicine to ensure their patients still receive treatment despite the current pandemic.

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