Written by Claire Imber,
5 Minute Read
Medically reviewed by:
Mimi Winsberg, MD
Chief Medical Officer
10 Minute Read
- Anxiety-related chest pain is pretty common.
- There are likely home remedies for anxiety that will help your chest pain.
- One of the best home remedies for chest pain is to control the anxiety that’s causing it.
If you have chest pain, your very first stop needs to be your doctor or your local hospital. Only a doctor can know for certain if your chest pain is caused by anxiety or by something more urgent. So if you are experiencing chest pain, stop what you are doing and see your doctor or go to your local hospital immediately. If you’re having an emergency, call 911.
If your doctor has already diagnosed your chest pain as being anxiety-related, the good news is that there are some things you can do, even while the chest pain is happening, to remedy the anxiety and relieve your chest pain.
Before we look at some home remedies for anxiety, let’s take a look at anxiety-caused chest pain so you can better understand it, and see how to recognize its symptoms.
What are the symptoms of anxiety-related chest pain?
Chest pain is a sign that should be taken seriously and evaluated. When in doubt, seeking medical attention is always recommended. However, in many cases, anxiety-related chest pain can be treated at home.
Part of what makes it complicated, and sometimes hard to identify as being caused by anxiety, is that, anxiety-related chest pain can be a bit different for everyone who experiences it. As we explain in our blog, “It can sometimes be difficult to know whether your symptoms are being caused by your anxiety, or if they are being caused by another medical problem altogether.”
Healthline goes on to list the ways that anxiety-caused chest pain is described by those who experience it. These descriptions include:
- Sharp, shooting pain
- Persistent chest aching
- An unusual muscle twitch or spasm in your chest
- Burning, numbness, or a dull ache
- Stabbing pressure
- Chest tension or tightness
And, to reiterate what we said above, a particular challenge of anxiety-related chest pain is that it has the ability to induce more anxiety. Chest pain can be alarming and worrying since it feels like something terrible may be happening — and this isn’t likely to reduce whatever anxiety you may be feeling. But it can also help to know that:
- “An estimated 25 to 50 percent of patients who come to the emergency department with low-risk chest pain (chest pain not related to a heart attack) experience moderate to severe anxiety,” according to Healthline.
- “Chest pain is present in between about 20% to 70% of panic attacks,” according to News-Medical.Net.
This means that anxiety-related chest pain is pretty common. It also means that there are likely home remedies for anxiety that will help your chest pain.
Home remedies for anxiety-related chest pain
One of the best home remedies for chest pain is to control the anxiety that’s causing it. So let’s step back from chest pain and talk more generally about home remedies for anxiety attacks.
Practice deep breathing
One of the first things you may try when experiencing anxiety is to slow and deepen your breathing. An anxiety attack, also known as a panic attack, can cause you to breathe shallowly and more quickly than usual. As Medical News Today explains, “Rapid breathing can lead to low carbon dioxide levels in the blood, causing lightheadedness and tingling in the extremities.” This may cause you to feel chest pain. On our blog, we provide a few thoughts on calming anxiety. Here is an example of a deep breathing exercise that may help:
Whereas breathing from your chest results in shallow breaths that may increase anxiety, breathing with the focus on your belly may help you take deeper breaths. It can help to place one hand on your heart and the other hand on your belly during breathing exercises so that you can more easily notice whether your chest or your belly is rising and falling with each breath.
After you are done slowing your breathing, or even while you are doing so, you may try any number of mindfulness exercises. If you are new to this idea, here are a couple of at-home techniques that may remedy your anxiety:
Take stock of the situation
It can often help to step back and observe what you are feeling. Sit with your emotions to see if you can figure out what may be causing you to feel anxious. Try not to judge your thoughts or feelings—accept them as they are.
Picture a place you love
Another widely accepted mindfulness technique that may help you remedy your anxiety at home is to try to picture a place that makes you happy while slowing and deepening your breath. This could be somewhere you’ve visited or somewhere you’d like to visit. Think about the details clearly: What color is the grass? Is there water? Is it warm or cool? What does it smell like? What sounds can you hear there? This can help calm you down.
Engage your five senses
A popular method for reducing anxiety is the 5-4-3-2-1 exercise. Look around you and focus on:
- 5 things you can see
- 4 things you feel
- 3 things you hear
- 2 things you smell
- 1 thing you taste
This technique can help ground you in the present moment.
Be proactive about your physical health
While this may not help in the middle of an anxiety episode, being proactive about your physical health is a great home remedy for stress and anxiety. Take good care of your body. Drink lots of water. Maintain your personal hygiene. Get regular exercise and eat as healthy as you can. If you’re a caregiver, remember to take care of yourself too.
See a mental health provider
If you need support for relieving chest pain caused by anxiety, try talking with a mental health provider. They are licensed professionals who will be able to recommend more ways to help you feel better.
At Brightside, you can get a personalized treatment plan online and start feeling like yourself again with medication, therapy, or both.