Tightness In Chest With Anxiety—What Does It Mean?”
Dr. Jim Manganiello ©—All Rights Reserved
Tightness in chest with anxiety is a problem shared by a growing number of people today. Many of them fear that their anxiety driven chest pain is a sign of a heart attack. This article distinguishes between chest pain from anxiety attacks and heart attacks. It also offers a step by step explanation of a powerful method for getting fast and effective relief from anxiety.
Let’s note some differences between chest pain from heart attacks vs. anxiety.
Chest Pain From Heart Attacks And Anxiety Attacks Heart Attacks
Heart attack occurs because of a blockage of blood flow—when an area of the heart muscle goes without oxygen.
Chest discomfort or pain is the most common sign of a heart attack, but not everyone who has a heart attack feels chest pain. And not all heart attack chest pain is severe, sometimes it’s mild and a heart attack victim expects it to go away.
Though for some people a heart attack involves a “crushing” kind of chest pain as if something very heavy is laying on their chest.
Heart attack chest pain typically involves one or some of the following:
- Pressure and discomfort in and on the chest
- Nausea or vomiting
- Clammy skin
- Weakness and feelings of exhaustion
- Chest pain accompanied by shortness of breath
- Chest pain that comes and goes
- Chest pain that rises and falls in severity
- Chest pain accompanied by searing or crushing pain that extends to the neck, back, jaw and arm, especially the left arm
Note: women have a greater tendency than men to experience symptoms beyond chest pain, especially nausea and vomiting and/or neck, back or jaw pain.
Anxiety is a mindbody event and the “body” part of an anxiety attack involves the release of powerful stress hormones. These stress hormones can leave your chest feeling taut, tense and tight.
Trouble is also that many people who feel chest tightness during an anxiety attack also feel heart palpitations along with a rapid increase in heart rate, as if there heart could just race out of control and suffer serious damage.
In general chest tightness and rapid heartbeat from a mild anxiety attack or even a high anxiety, panic attack do not necessarily mean that your heart is at risk
But if chest pain of any kind becomes frequent, then you should play it safe and consult a medical physician. Do so especially if your jaw, neck and back hurt and/ or if you feel pain radiating down your left arm.
Anxiety attack chest pain typically involves one or more of the following:
- Chest pain usually preceded and/or accompanied by fear, worry and anxiety
- Chest pain along with perspiration and a racing heart rate
- Chest pain accompanied by trouble breathing
- Chest pain along with intense feelings of dread and disaster, as if doom and even death is impending
- Trouble swallowing
- Chest pain that is usually more severe lying down vs. standing up or that gets more less or more sever when you change position
- Chest pain that intensifies if you cough or take a deep breath
- Chest pain that is tender to the touch
Anxiety, Stress Hormones and Cardiovascular Risk
While it is true that your chesty pain symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks don’t necessarily mean there is anything wrong with your heart in the present, over the long haul, chronic anxiety does indeed put a strain on your heart. It’s nonsense to ignore or deny this fact.
Studies show that stress hormones can have an insidious affect on cardiovascular health by setting up conditions for problems such as high blood pressure, arterial blockage and even sudden death.
How to Control Your Anxiety and Protect Your Health and Well-Being
When your oil warning light turns on in your car, it’s a signal that something is wrong requiring action on your part. Anxiety in many ways is a signal that something is off and awry.
We now know that many of the conditions that make life miserable and end it too early for so many people are more like “break downs” in equipment than they are “illnesses”.
The first step to ending your anxiety and your driven chest discomfort, along with the many other life and health problems that anxiety and stress hormones drive, is to see your anxiety as a warning light—not as evidence that you are defective or necessarily ill.
Chronic anxiety is a signal that two things are happening to you, two things that you need to do something about:
- Your stress hormone levels are high
- Stress hormones are seeping into your blood and tissues and lingering there
Use This Step by Step Stress and Anxiety Busting Method
You’re probably very busy a lot of the time and so even though you really want to lower your stress hormone levels you can’t, especially during the day.
Here’s a method called MESICS “Free Release Breathing”. It is a wonderful stress and anxiety busting practice that’s easy to do, yet powerful. You will get results—fast.
You can do it pretty much anywhere and it doesn’t take long. And the more you do it, the more you will strengthen your “anxiety fighting muscles”.
Step-By-Step Walk Through of the Practice
Read the brief instructions below over once. Get a clear picture of the practice, then return right here and do it.
Take three Free Release Breaths as follows:
- On your “in breath”-breathe in through your nose into your diaphragm
- Do it so your diaphragm rises on your in breath and falls on your out breath. (Your diaphragm is just below your breast bone and just above your upper abdomen. It’s a muscle the size of the palm of your hand, a muscle wrapped all the way around the bottom of your rib cage)
- On your “out breath”-breathe from your diaphragm out through your mouth. Just completely let go.
- Don’t walk your breath out-just let it go completely “hhhaaaa”
- On the out breath sigh if you are not in public- “hhhaaa”.
- If you are in public-do it quietly or silently
- Then tune yourself briefly to the calm, clear state at the end of your out breath. Rest there for about 7 seconds. Do not follow your thoughts.
- Then repeat twice more.
- Each time LET GO of any stressful and anxious thoughts that you’re distracted by and identified with.
- As you practice and train, try to maintain your connection to the calm state at the end of your out breath for as long as possible
- This will give you a taste of the “Stress Free State”
MESICS Free Release Breathing and Your “Stress Hormone Faucet”
“Free Release Breathing” is so powerful because it promotes the activation of what’s called the “parasympathetic” component of your Involuntary Nervous System.
Forget the strange words and think of it this way. When this part of your nervous system is in charge, your Stress Faucet turns off and stress chemicals stop leaking into your body.
That’s good, very good. It will ease your stress and your stress-hormone driven, anxiety and anxiety chest pain and an array of other problems as well.
Again, at the end of your out breath, you will feel at ease, calm and clear. Tune yourself to this experience.
Train, train, train with this method. Once you are familiar with it, you can use one or a few MESICS Free Release Breaths to reconnect to this calm, relaxed state of mind.
Then, when you’re in an anxious situation or even on the edge of an anxiety attack, you will be more resilient.
With repeated use, you will be able to find this relaxed state of mind more quickly and you will be able to stay connected to it longer and longer.
Use the MESICS Free Release Breathing practice regularly. If you like what it does for you, then you’ll LOVE what some additional MESICS companion practices will do for you.
You can learn how to live much more effectively and powerfully while being calm, at ease, and comfortable in your own skin–even in the midst of chaos.
Opprotunities for You
I invite you to download my Little Black Book of Stress Relef Secrets at no charge. It’s packed with knowledge and tools that will serve you well.
If you are looking do some highly effective therapy to get fast and long lasting relief for your anxiety problems, just let me know.
I wish you the best.