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Why Does Anxiety/stress Cause Chest Pain? (Page 1)

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In the past before i was diagnosed with Panic Disorder i would get anxious or nervous from time to time just like anyone else and i can never ever remember getting any kind of chest pain during those nervous/stressed times.But now everytime i start to get anxious my chest hurts right around my left ribcage.Then as soon as try and relax myself it goes away that's how we know it's chest pain and not heart pain,thers's a differerance between heart pain and chest pain according to my doctor.Heart pain as in there's something wrong with your heart does not go away and chest pain is more likely muscle-ligamint or rib pain.Just wanted to know why anxiety brings on this pain and why i never had it before years ago when i would get nervous or stressed,just now.Thanks for any help,Keith.
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First Helper timc424
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replied December 4th, 2007
Community Volunteer
Even though you have talked to your doctor about this symptom, don't rule out heart pain. Panic disorder can increase breathing and heart rate, and cause your heart a bit of extra work. Even if there is nothing wrong with your heart so far, it can't be completely ruled out. This goes for all the muscles surrounding that area.

As we get older our bodies change and sometimes things can develop that are not harmful but feel as if they should be. Younger people don't get heartburn as much as those who are older. Weight gain can sometimes make heartburn symptoms worse. Those who are not on a controlled diet when they are older have more pains such as these than children whose mothers make sure they are on a healthy diet. A pain under your ribcage might be gas trapped within, which can feel extremely painful, especially if it is compressed by a panic attack.

Check your diet to see if there is anything that might cause you to have heartburn. Once you have ruled out this possibility, then maybe you can begin to blame it on a muscular/skeletal problem, which a chiropractor might be able to solve.
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replied December 10th, 2007
Experienced User
It's totally anxiety! That's how I found out I was having attacks. I was at work one day and (alot had happened in the last 6 months) but I had awful chest pains! I then couldn't catch my breath. I let it go for awhile then they just kept getting worse. I started losing weight because of no desire to eat, I was starting to fall in to depression which I found out can happen if you don't treat your anxiety. My husband started to really get worried. I was put on lexapro which is what my sister (who has had troubles for a long time) and my mom were on. I now have been off my meds for about a year and am doing very well. I just needed the medacine to calm my body down. I still have a prescription just in case. I do still have my chest pains at times but not like I did. I really encourage you to go talk to your dr. They may just tell you ways to handle it or try medication. Make sure you continue to talk to your dr or your pharmacist if you start medication to make sure it is what is right for you. Some medications don't work for some and does for others. Take care and if you need to talk let me know!
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replied October 10th, 2012
hi my name is pam and heres my number yes i have the same
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replied December 10th, 2007
Extremely eHealthy
Yes, see a doctor as soon as you can to get a hold of this.
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replied April 8th, 2009
Panic Disorder
I have been recently been diagnosed with Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia (PDA) after putting up with it for over a year. I too suffer from chest pains once in a while when I get extremely panicky or anxious (usually when I'm really upset about something). Try breathing from your stomach instead of your chest to calm all symptoms of panic.

I agree, everyone should be checked out by their family doctor to rule out any physical problems. This includes blood tests (which I had done) to make sure you don't have anything which could be affecting/making the panic worse.

Once everything physical is ruled out, try to consult a psychologist (someone who specifically deals with Panic Disorders) who can treat you using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). I'm in therapy right now and it's working SO well. I'm VERY impressed with the results thus far and I look forward to finally overcoming my panic. I have been to 4 sessions, I believe, and I am already noticing a huge change.

I suggest this book: "10 Simple Solutions to Panic". It's a wonderful resource and it gives you a lot of information as to why you're experiencing so many physical symptoms from something psychological. It really helps to understand why your body reacts the way it does, plus it's a short read so it won't take up too much of your time.

The above stated resources have helped me a great deal and I am on my way to recovering. Panic Disorder is more common than you think and these physical symptoms are controlable with the right treatment, trust me. But definitely rule out all physical symptoms (including chest pain) before just putting it off to your Panic Disorder.
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replied July 4th, 2009
my chest hurts every morning when I start thinking about money and bills. I really think it's going to kill me.
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replied August 17th, 2009
I am currently experiencing pains accross my chest, back, shoulder and arms. I know it is all to do with anxiety and stress related to work. My doctor wants me to try anti depressants, but this has made me more anxious as I see them as a sign of failure to manage/cope. WHat would you do?
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replied April 17th, 2011
Antidepressants
First, I would say to let go of it as a sign of failure. You would be shocked to know how many of us are on anti depressants. I would also say try them before you make a decision. You always have the control to stop them if they don't work. Actually, I think people are stronger when they can admit they need help. It takes a stronger person to admit it than it does to deny it.
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replied June 13th, 2012
anxiety and depression is not a sign of weakness, its a sign of being strong your whole life just fyi
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replied June 13th, 2012
anxiety and depression is not a sign of weakness, its a sign of being strong your whole life just fyi
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replied August 18th, 2009
SNRI's or most anit-depressants often make the problems worse before they get better. It's up to you and your doctor to keep you on the same meds at the same dossage.

Personally, I get the chest pains after a stressful situation, and am calmly replaying it in my mind. I was told my my thearapist to meditate... which has yet to work for me. My friends tell me medication is the next step (and to see a doctor who can perscribe).

My sister is on a small pharmacy of drugs for her anxiey, including anti depressants. She is carefree and irresponsible now, and every couple of months is increasing her dossages. I don't want to be like her, without a care in the world, on a million different pills, but thearpy isn't working either.

I've shut myself in my room so my friends and roommates will stop asking me if I'm ok, but living like this isn't a life.

Now bettybug, of everyone I know on antidepressants, the ones who stayed on them for prolonged periods of times (years) are still on them, and their lives are chaotic. I do know some people who were on them, figured themselves out and got off them and are awesome people, free of serious mental health issues. I too am scared to even try any medication, but am getting desperate to overcome my problems.

If you decide to go that route.... just don't make the meds your crutch, use them as a tool to sort out, manage and overcome! We have the power!

Meds aren't supposed to be a symbol of failure, they are supossed to be an aid- not a solution. Money problems, realationship problems, social stigmas and behaviours etc are the issues, the drugs are supposed to subdue the crippling symptoms to deal with the problems. Conqure them, and learn how to manage them and you won't need the meds and you're in the clear!
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replied September 26th, 2012
panic attacks
just dont take zanax like me i cant get off of them i take 2mg aday i dont want to go out side i have chest pain it is so bad i cant work driving a truck i could be making 1000 bucks a week i get for no reason hart pounding puking cant breath the list goes on man zanax dont work i dont what to go see a doctor for fear of losing my right to keep my guns. i would never hurt any one or my self i have 3 kids a wife and 2 dogs .. i dont ask for much in life. some people just want to be rich lol i just want a day were i dont have any sign of this panic its to the point i feel like i am dieing and i just want to stay home for fear i will kick in the truck or on a street somewere .. i feel for every person on this page .. god bless
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replied August 19th, 2009
Hi houseelf
I did go and see my doctor yesterday about the pain I am experiencing due to work related stress, and he was in agreement with me, that I will be ok once I leave my current job. I handed in my notice at the end of july and it was rejected, and me being a soft touch accepted this. My doctor has told me to go back and tell them catagorically that I am serious about my notice and to leave / or if they try and persuade me otherwise to seek adice from CAB. I have been given some diazepam for the pains in my back etc, to help me relax a little, and I found them a great help last night. I can't take them by day however as I have to be able to function properly and be able to drive.
So, I now have to overcome my anxiety, toughen up and tell work they have to accept my notice. A small part of it makes me happy as that means I only have 2 weeks left
Thanks for your advice on the anti depressants, I knew deep down they weren't for me
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replied August 31st, 2009
The way I see it is that I didn't have any problems before but now all of the sudden I do. So why can't they all of the sudden just disappear? This is really hard for me to cope with and I don't understand why if I tell myself it's not that bad but my body acts like it is killing me. I don't like meds and reading material for this is barely working. Why me. It has been six months now that I hav ebeen dealing with this anxiety crap and it is making me feel like my life is going out of control. My wife is getting agrivated with the situation and that is only naking it worse on me. I'm not depressed by any means. I am just anxious when I get up because of my job and I have started getting really nervous easily. Is there anything I can take just to calm down and get mu life back on track besides anti - depressants? Or just can I just take a few steps?????
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replied September 1st, 2009
Hi Rreid
I found the diazepam very good to help relax me, and maybe ask your doctor for some counselling. I go back to see my doctor on Friday and I'm going to ask for some. I've only got a few days of my notice left now, and although I am scared about leaving my job, I'm also a little excited. I've been signed off work for work related stress and anxiety, so I don't actually have to go back to work. They have been harrassing me by email, letter, mobile and landline to attend a meeting to discuss the reasons why I'm leaving, so you knwo what I've done, blocked all their numbers and emails. So much for them giving me time out to relax and get better.
My advice to you, get out of your job, and think about number 1. I have always worried about what other people think of me, and put others first, but I have all of a sudden realised, no one at work actually gives a damn about you and what your going through........so my thoughts of them now are; you didn't appreciate me when I was there, but I bet you do now!
Don't go down the anti depressant route, my doctor has told me to sort out the problem and then re evaluate my life.
I'm sure your wife is just getting worried about you. My parents do the same to me and they do not realise that their attitude towards my anxiety really does not help.
My friends have been useless (I may as well say it) Their way of helping me is to ignore me.
But my boyfriend, he has been my saviour, I genuinely think that I would not be here now if it wasn't for him.

Take care and let us know how you get on
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replied September 1st, 2009
Anxiety does that to you. If you want reassurance ask your doctor for a physical. Chances are you're heart and general health are fine. but holding in your anger can cause problems for you in the future and your doc can send you to someone who can help with that.
It affects the body, too. Worry, nervous tension, mental stress, or anxiety can cause muscular contraction and vascular constriction restricting energy and blood flow and affecting nerve conduction to parts of the body. Different people have different "hot spots" depending up their physical makeup, past injuries, etc. Some people may be prone to back pain under stress, while others may develop tight and aching neck and shoulder muscles. Other people may have problems with internal systems or organs developing diarrhea under stress, for instance. Some people have chest pains.
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Users who thank jeanieleaton for this post: Dacosta86 

replied September 2nd, 2009
anniek wrote:
It's totally anxiety! That's how I found out I was having attacks. I was at work one day and (alot had happened in the last 6 months) but I had awful chest pains! I then couldn't catch my breath. I let it go for awhile then they just kept getting worse. I started losing weight because of no desire to eat, I was starting to fall in to depression which I found out can happen if you don't treat your anxiety. My husband started to really get worried. I was put on lexapro which is what my sister (who has had troubles for a long time) and my mom were on. I now have been off my meds for about a year and am doing very well. I just needed the medacine to calm my body down. I still have a prescription just in case. I do still have my chest pains at times but not like I did. I really encourage you to go talk to your dr. They may just tell you ways to handle it or try medication. Make sure you continue to talk to your dr or your pharmacist if you start medication to make sure it is what is right for you. Some medications don't work for some and does for others. Take care and if you need to talk let me know!
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replied February 4th, 2010
Heart or chest pain I don't know but it hurts like throbbing
I don't know but I just went to see a specialist for my heart. They did a ekg and it's normal. No heart problems in my family. I do have a heart murmur. When noticed that when I am stressed or even when I think that I am not - for example. The other day I got dropped off by friends and I quickly grabbed my stuff out of the car, and as I was walking to my door, I felt the pain in my upper middle part of my chest. Then again, when I had seen a friend I had not seen in a while, I hugged her, and there it went again. I feel that I cannot have a normal life or be myself. My husband doesn't think there is anything wrong - except that it is a mind induced pain. Who knows. Just a few moments ago, I ran out the back door with the dogs and here it goes again. I don't know if even I should start working out - what if I have a major heart attack? I don't have the money to go for extensive tests. Does anyone feel what I feel? I am 38 years old.
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replied March 29th, 2012
I am going through the same thing, if i get stressed i get a sharp pain in my heart and it scares me, I went to the dr and told me after x ray and ekg and blood work , he thinks its stress. I get nervouse easy. I am quitting my job because its so stressful. I also am tking up yoga and it seems so far to loosen some of the stress. I am trying to reprogram my bran and not worry so much.
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replied April 10th, 2012
I am so very thankful to read some of these posts. I have the exact same symptoms and I thought I was dying. I have been to the ER, family doctor, and today to a cardiologist for more tests. It makes me feel a bit better to have an idea as to what it is, as I get attacks just worrying about it. I get them when I am very stressed, but more bewildering, when I do not think I am stressed. I was visiting relatives and got the sharp pain in my right middle chest, back and arms. I wouldn't have considered visiting loved ones stressful - maybe it is? I will report back with what the final medical diagnosis is.
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replied March 5th, 2010
NPonce71 - I have the EXACT same thing as you!! You sound just like me. I was reading your post and thought, "oh my gosh, did I right that?!" I have extensive tests done, Upper GI, EKG, ECG (ultrasound of the heart), CMP, CBC, Thyroid tests... all NORMAL. Yet I still have that sharp pain that comes at the most ODD times.. Like, if it's anxiety, then WHY does it come when you're letting the dogs out? I was feeding my dogs last night and it happened, and then it through me into a panic attack. My husband thinks the same as yours. .mind induced pain.. I feel like everyone thinks I'm crazy. Btw, I too have a heart murmur - told completely normal... do we need to exchange emails?! Smile
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replied August 24th, 2011
NPonce71 and Boppy2-
Im 17 and have the excat same problem!!! I've had tons of tests done and everything comes back normal. I don't have a murmur though. When I was little (4-9) I experienced rapid heartbeats while I'd be at rest about 3 times a month. Now that I am older I am experiencing the same random chest pains as you two! For years diffrent doctors just ruled it out that they thought it was inflamation and to just take ibphrofen. I finally found a doctor that was willing to find answers but today he mentioned that it being something related to the heart has been ruled out. The only other two things he thinks it could be is anxiety or inflamation... my main question is, if it is inflamation why am I so prone?? I'd like for all of us to keep eachother updated so that we can finally figure this problem out!!
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replied May 7th, 2012
If you have a heart murmur, you should google dysautonomia and see a doctor for it. Many people that have murmurs have it. I was diagnosed with it several years ago and referred to a specialist for it. I don't know what state you live in but there is one in Birmingham, AL. It is called the Mitral Valve Prolapse Center. They changed my life!
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replied March 5th, 2010
Worried about the pain
Umm hey guys im a 19 year old kid that has just started his college life. About 2 months ago i Started having panic attacks after taking a drug. My dad has a severe case of anxiety and takes meds for it. I get sharp pains in my chest in my heart area and around it and in my back. And i start to panic if i think about it. The pain comes and goes though. And when i went to the ER they said i had alittle murmir but my ekg was fine but it is getting hard to tell myself that everything is fine what should i do?
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replied November 2nd, 2012
dont worry about it man im going through the same situation im 19 years old going to college with 1 kid. i would also do alot of drugs to relieve me from the stress, i also get sharp pains in heart and chest i also went to the er but everything was fine i jus had a severe case of anxiety in time you will get better just think of positive sayinggs like instead of saying why me why did this happen to me say try me. or i feel these sharp pains but im fine. just think positive
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replied March 17th, 2010
to boppy2
I also have had these same symptoms for years and wound up in the hospital ER 3 times. After numerous tests I was told there was nothing wrong. This last time (September of 2008) I was in the hospital for 3 days. They did an EKG, echocardiogram, CT scan, cardiac enzymes, thyroid tests and kept me on a heart monitor the whole time. They only found that my thyroid was a bit low and changed my medications. The symptoms subsided for a while but are now back worse than ever. I have given up discussing the occasional chest pain that only comes on when I am in bed. I also have mitral valve prolapse (congenital). I guess I will live with these symptoms for the rest of my life. at this point I feel like the doctors think I am imagining the symptoms as they have always found just minor problems and tell me to "take it easy, don't be anxious".
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replied March 22nd, 2010
Hey everyone, your situation sounds very relevant to mine. The past couple days I have had pretty large amount of chest tightness, shortness of breath, and mild to moderate pain. I was diagnosed with a rare disease Takayasu's Arteritis which is inflammation of the arteries about 6 years ago. I have gone to the ER 2 times in the past 3 days, and met with my family doctor today. I took an EKG (everything came back okay), 7+ viles of blood work done and everything came back okay as far as having a heart attack and any new inflammation is not active, a CT scan of my heart, no cardiac dissection is happening, and an X-ray done of my aorta, and it looks okay. I have an extreme fear of death, and have been waking up in the middle of the night panicing that I'm going to die. I have been taking Xanax as prescribed and it's helping a little bit, lessening the pain, but it's still there a tiny bit. Whenever I get nervous thinking about dying, my chest begins to hurt more. What do you guys think this could be? For some reason, I don't think these 3 doctors I've dealt with, I just don't believe everything is okay. What do you think?

Thanks.
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replied March 27th, 2010
Sounds alot like what I have been going through except no disease named. In September of 08 I had an EKG, numerous blood tests, checking for heart failure, a CT scan and echocardiogram checking for aortic dissection or heart failure or blockage (nothing found)and constant heart monitoring for 72 hours, and like I said before, just thyroid medication adjustment. I also take Xanax as needed to help me sleep so that I don't think about the chest pain. The doctor's really don't care about the symptoms. They tell you to live with it and I dearly hope that when I die my tombstone doesn't say "I told you so".
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replied April 9th, 2010
I feel for all of you. Last year I went thru an ugly and painful divorce. For several months I had nighttime panic. Woke up CONVINCED I''m dying of heart attack. Went to ER, called neighbor who is a psychologist to stay with me... awful. I am 33 and do have hypothyroid which was out of range at the time. Day and night I was scared of dying, racing heart, ill, sweaty - I don''t know how I got thru. My dr prescribed valium. I took as needed during that time. He knew nothing serious was wrong and it was situational. I am mostly over this now - sleeping like a baby again. I do have these residual chest pains and worry when I think about what I''ve been thru or have to deal with after effects. When you have lived thru a major stressor it may take a long time to get all of that nasty stress anxiety and adrenealine out of your body/mind. I suggest you relax, focus on anything and everything you have going for you, and make some positive adjustments to your life. Don''t worry you''ll feel better eventually and appreciate your life more!
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