anxiety chest tightness

In the United States, one of the most common mental illness is an anxiety disorder. Almost 40M people in the United States are suffering from anxiety in America.

anxiety chest tightness

What is an anxiety disorder?

The natural response of a body to stress is called anxiety. Anxiety is a kind of apprehension or feeling of fear regarding what will happen. For instance, going for a job interview, 1st day at school or college, or delivering a presentation may cause many people to feel nervous and frightened. 

However, facing extreme feelings of anxiety that last more than six months may result in anxiety disorder. Such severe anxiety may interfere with your daily routine.

When you are starting a new job or moving to a new place, you may feel anxious. Even though you may not feel pleasant, this is ordinary anxiety, and the feeling comes and goes instantly. It does not interfere with your daily routine. Moreover, typical anxiety may motivate you to perform a better job by working hard.

On the other hand, in anxiety disorder, you may be suffering from a feeling of fear all the. It is hindering and intense.

If you are suffering from an anxiety disorder, you may not perform your job to think you enjoy. If you are suffering from an extreme anxiety disorder, you may not be able to cross the street, enter an elevator, or even leave your home.

Anxiety disorders need to be treated on time. If you leave it untreated, it will keep getting worse with time.

Anxiety disorders can affect anyone in any part of life. It is one of the most common forms of emotional disorder. American Psychiatric Association proposes that women are more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders than men.

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Types of anxiety disorders?

Anxiety is the main symptom of many other disorders. Some of these disorders include:


Phobia is an extreme fear of a particular object, activity, and situation. For example, some people are claustrophobic. Some are height phobic etc.

Panic disorder:

Panic disorder is when a person experiences an unanticipated recurring panic attack. A person who has panic disorder always lives in a fear that when will he have another panic attack.

Social Anxiety Disorder:

In social anxiety disorder, a person suffers from extreme fear of being judged by others.

Separation Anxiety Disorder:

A person suffering from separation Anxiety Disorder fear being separated or away from home or family.

Illness Anxiety Disorder:

A person suffering from an illness anxiety disorder is always anxious about his/her health. This disorder was formerly called hypochondria.

Obsessive-compulsive Disorder:

In obsessive-compulsive disorder, a person continually experiences recurring irrational thoughts. This disorder leads him or her to perform particular repeated behavior.

PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder:

In PTSD, a person suffers from severe anxiety after a traumatic event.

Symptoms of Anxiety

The feeling of anxiety varies from person to person. A person may be feeling butterflies in his/her stomach or increased heartbeat. There could be a case in which you may be feeling out of control as if there is no coordination between your body and your mind.

Other common feelings of anxiety include panic attacks, nightmares, uncontrollable and painful memories, and thoughts. You may also experience fear and worry. Moreover, you might be uncomfortable in some places.

General symptoms of anxiety are

Rapid breathing

Increased heart rate

Face trouble to focus

Difficulty in sleeping

It does not mean that you must be suffering from similar symptoms if you are suffering from anxiety. Your symptoms of anxiety may vary from someone else’s.

Anxiety and Chest Tightness

One of the most frightening anxiety symptoms is chest tightness. Though there are various physical manifestations caused by anxiety, the one associated with the direst health conditions, including stroke and heart attack, is chest tightness.

Chest tight can be a symptom of most cardiac conditions. It is possible that if you are experiencing chest tightness, you may develop anxiety. However, in some situations, anxiety causes chest tightness, particularly when you are suffering from anxiety attacks most often.

Anxiety Chest Tightness

Anxiety symptoms include chest tightness. Chest tightness often causes a drastic amount of distress. The main reason for this distress is that chest tightness is linked with critical health conditions. Chest tightness can be significant for those people who are unaware of the physical effects of anxiety and stress in their life.

Causes of Anxiety Chest Tightness

Researchers are unable to find out the exact cause of chest tightness from anxiety patients. Moreover, Health Vanguard advised you to seek your doctor immediately in case of sudden worse chest pain to rule out the possibility of cardiac problems.

If you are seeking someone’s help when suffering from chest pain, do not think/feel, by all means, that you are bothering someone. By ruling out other serious health conditions, you can deal with your chest pain induced by anxiety.

There are various reasons for which anxiety can cause chest pain and chest tightness. Some of them include:


Hyperventilation is one of the common causes of chest tightness in anxiety patients. It is a minor symptom of anxiety. It is caused by fast breathing due to stress.

Hyperventilation causes your body to take shallower and shorter breaths, and the body is unable to maintain the level of CO2 in your body necessary for proper ventilation. Consequently, with the worsening breathing, hyperventilation causes a squeezing sensation near and around the heart. 


Stress and anxiety can affect your digestion. Stress from anxiety lays unnecessary and excessive pressure on your gut that, in return, alters the normal pattern of digestion. Consequently, the pressure causes bloating.

In some people, bloating is present simultaneously with chest pressure. This chest pressure is mistaken for chest tightness and/or chest pain. In actuality, the chest of your chest is not tightening, but it may feel like tightness.

Moreover, heartburn is also considered chest tightness; however, it is irritating in the lower esophagus due to stomach acid. Heartburn also does not cost true chest pain or chest tightness.

Muscle Strain:

Sometimes, you may experience muscle strain or pain in the chest wall that feels like chest pain. However, in actuality, it is musculoskeletal. If you suffer from anxiety, your muscle pain can worsen, and you may have a sensation of chest pain.

Most of the time, chest tightness occurs just before or during an anxiety attack. It may be present in a panic attack in which a person may not be suffering from an anxiety attack. This is known as a limited symptom panic attack.

Having said that, you should assure that chest pain or chest tightness from anxiety is harmless.

Ways to Know If You Are Suffering from Anxiety Chest Tightness

The easiest way to know if you are suffering from anxiety induced by chest tightness is to rule out all possibilities of lung and cardiac-related problems. This can be done by visiting your physician.

You can determine if cardiac problems cause your chest tightness through some signs.  However, the symptoms are not at all all-inclusive. If you doubt something, Health Vanguard suggests you visit your physician.

The following are some of the general symptoms of anxiety-related chest tightness.

Anxiety-related chest pain radiates towards arms, back, or shoulders.

It accompanies other symptoms of anxiety.

It usually lasts for less than 10 minutes.

However, it does not necessarily mean that chest tightness or chest pain abiding these symptoms completely rule out pulmonary or cardiac causes.

Moreover, women, older people, and people with diabetes often suffer from chest tightness that is unusual for conventional cardiac chest pain. Health Vanguard suggests you visit a physician if you are included in one of these groups with the onset of chest tightness and chest pressure.

Anxiety attack is at its peak when chest tightness and chest pressure are at its worst. Cardiac chest tightness often lasts longer than 15 minutes. It radiates and does not relieve the resolution of anxiety. It is associated with shortness of breath as well.

Ways to Reduce Anxiety Chest Tightness

The best way to treat chest tightness is to figure out the possible causes of chest tightness. Once you are sure that it is from anxiety, the next step is to halt the causes of symptoms.

Some of the symptoms include:


Try to control your breathing.  It can be done by taking slower and deeper breaths. Do not try to breathe too fast or over-breathe. In a hyperventilation experience, you may have a sensation as if you are not getting enough oxygen. However, the condition of hyperventilation occurs when you are expelling more carbon dioxide than you are making. Thus, if you breathe slow, it helps to maintain carbon dioxide levels.


Preventing or reducing any gas in the body can be effective. You can drink water or take an antacid. This can help with heartburn and bloating. Eating slower can improve heartburn. Moreover, avoiding spicy food and staying upright for at least 30 minutes after a meal can help. Besides, avoid foods like coffee, chocolate, peppermint, tomatoes, citrus foods, peppermint, and caffeinated beverages to avoid heartburn.

anxiety chest tightness

Muscle Strain

Do not lift or carry things that are too heavy. Before doing strenuous activities, make sure you do war up activity by stretching your muscles.


What Is An Anxiety Attack?

Overwhelming distress, nervousness, fear, or worry at a particular situation is an anxiety attack. The feeling of anxiety builds slowly for many people. It may reach to worse position when a stressful event approach.

What are Symptoms of an Anxiety attack

The symptoms of anxiety attack vary from person to person. For instance, the majority of symptoms of anxiety attacks do not happen to everyone. Moreover, the symptoms also change over time.

Common symptoms of an anxiety attack include:

Shortness of breath

Dry mouth

Feeling dizzy or faint



Chills or hot flashes



Tingling and numbness

Although anxiety and panic attacks have some common symptoms, they are not one.

What causes anxiety?

Despite advancements in medical science, medical scientists are still unable to find out the exact causes of anxiety.

However, there are various factors combine that cause anxiety. Some major factors are environmental factors, genetic factors, and brain chemistry.

Furthermore, some medical scientists also propose that brain areas that control fear in humans could also be a cause. Scientists are taking a more in-depth look at the brain’s parts that are connected with anxiety.

Have you ever suffer from anxiety attacks or chest tightness anxiety, do share your experience with Health Vanguard.

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