The coronavirus pandemic has brought heaps of stress and anxiety into our lives. With constant worries about family and friends, economic insecurity, fear of getting COVID-19, and the 24-hour news cycle of infections and deaths, many of us are feeling a strain on our mental health.
Do you think chest tightness anxiety is due to Coronavirus? Fear not, make an appointment with us today!
Whether you’ve lived with an anxiety disorder for years or have developed it due to the pandemic, it can greatly affect your well-being. Chest tightness or shortness of breath could be a symptom of high levels of anxiety. A state of heightened anxiety sets off the alarm of your fight or flight system (sympathetic nervous system), causing you to breathe faster, your muscles to tighten, and your heart rate to increase. And you may have chest pain or feel tightness or a heavyweight on your chest.
Causes of Chest Tightness Anxiety
When you’re anxious, your body tends to produce physical reactions like shortness of breath and sweating. Your body and brain set off an immediate stress response, including a physiological change or emotional response. These responses are known as the fight-and-flight response.
They prepare you to run away or fight back. If you get this fight-or-flight stress reaction too frequently, you may experience increased muscle tension and chest pain. Likewise, your heart rate may increase and grow stronger.
The rapid breathing that comes with an anxiety attack can escalate to the extent that you’re hyperventilating or breathing too deeply and quickly. If enough air isn’t being expelled from your lungs, you may feel a sense of discomfort and tightness in your chest. This can be so intense that you might think you’re having a heart attack. Or you might wonder if you’ve contracted COVID-19.
Chest tightness can occur when a person feels anxious, or it can happen out of the blue. It can last for a few minutes before fading, but for some people, it can last for several hours.
What does Chest Tightness Anxiety feel Like?
Anxiety symptoms vary from person to person. Some days, a person may experience different symptoms. Anxiety manifests in different ways, which makes it difficult to detect or understand symptoms. Chest tightness or pain associated with anxiety may feel different for different people.
Some individuals may experience sudden and unexpected chest pain. For others, the pain may be gradual. Chest tightness anxiety can be described as:
- Stabbing pressure
- Persistent chest aching
- An unusual spasm or muscle twitching in your chest
- Sharp, shooting pain
- Chest tension and tightness in the throat
- Burning, numbness, or a dull ache
- Weird feeling in the chest with no pain
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Shortness of Breath as a Symptom of Anxiety
Whether situational, acute, or chronic, anxiety can cause you to feel short of breath. This is one of the reasons why anxiety is sometimes mistaken for a heart attack. You don’t have to experience a full-blown panic attack to have shortness of breath; it can also be caused by low-level anxiety. With shortness of breath, you might feel like your lungs aren’t getting enough – like you’re running short on oxygen.
You may find yourself breathing a little too fast and a little too shallow. As a result, you release too much carbon dioxide, which makes your chest feel tight, and then you’re compelled to inhale before you even finish the last exhale.
You might feel short of breath for intervals lasting 10-30 minutes at a time. It could also happen out of the blue, but the symptoms will likely come and go throughout the day.
How to Relieve Your Chest Tightness Anxiety?
There are a number of techniques that you can use to slow down quickened breathing, rapid heart rate, and chest tightness. To begin with, you can try focusing on things directly in front of you or something that’s immediately in your surroundings. What can you hear, touch, or smell? Focus on your senses to keep you distracted.
You can also count out loud from 100 by twos to keep you focused. If symptoms lessen or disappear after practicing these techniques, that’s a good sign that you were having an anxiety episode and not a physical illness.
Another technique worth trying is progressive muscle relaxation. This involves squeezing muscles in selected areas of your body and then releasing them one by one. Practice this technique for a few minutes every day, not only when you’re anxious. This way, you’ll be readily prepared when the panic attacks come in.
If you still have trouble with Chest Tightness Anxiety, then please book an appointment with us today!
You can also normalize your heartbeat and CO2 levels and alleviate chest tightness when you take slow, deep breaths. Breathe in slowly through your nose for a count of five, and then breathe out just as slowly for a count of seven through pursed lips. Do that repeatedly until you feel better.
Because these are uncertain times, gloom and doom is part of everyday life. So, limit the amount of news you watch and read, take a walk in a physically distanced way, reach out for loved ones on the phone, eat healthy, exercise, and find a hobby you enjoy.
If you’re still experiencing pain, pressure, or tightness in your chest, getting immediate medical attention is important. Contact us at EZCare Clinic to treat and manage anxiety disorder with a mental health specialist’s help.
Need help dealing with anxiety? Book an appointment with us today!