Chest pressure and pain related to anxiety is a very common anxiety symptom. Over 40% of anxiety sufferers complain of chest pressure related to an anxiety attack. If this is the first time you have experienced chest pressure, it is very extremely important to be evaluated by a physician. Once your heart health has been given the “all clear” you can safely assume that anxiety related chest pressure and pain is NOT a heart attack.
Chest pressure may arrive suddenly prior to an anxiety attack or may be a later symptom after the anxiety attack starts. However it affects you, it can be terrifying and make the anxiety worse. Chest pressure is a disturbing symptom and coupled with fear will make anyone feel uncomfortable when it happens.
The reason we feel chest pressure with anxiety is the tensing of chest muscles near the ribs. The muscles in the chest and ribs are very sensitive to stress hormones and tense up very quickly. Lack of oxygen to these muscles can also cause twinges of pain and pressure. This is why deep, slow breathing is important during an anxiety attack. It is also very important to try and relax during an anxiety attack.
The stress of everyday life can cause us to tense muscles that we are not normally aware of. Even if we don’t feel outwardly anxious, we may tense up subconsciously. This is the same as gritting the teeth during sleep. One way to help relieve chest pressure or any other muscle tension due to anxiety is to actually tense the muscles and then release them. Start with one group of muscles and tense them. Hold for a few seconds and then release. Move from one group of muscles to the next.
One way to tell if chest pressure is related to anxiety is the fact that it is usually not relieved by lying down and resting. It may even continue during deep sleep. True cardiac pressure and pain is usually relieved by rest. Cardiac pain tends to come and go with exercise and exertion. Anxiety chest pressure and pain can come on randomly and suddenly at your quietest moments.
The key factor you need to remember is that anxiety related chest pressure is most likely not related to a cardiac problem, which is if a qualified physician has ruled out any incidence of heart disease. If medical doctors do not find a physical reason for chest pressure, then your worries will be more at ease.