Stress Chest Pain

Having chest pain from stress, or stress chest pain, is very uncomfortable. It feels like tightening in the chest and many people fear for their lives when having it because the pain is so close to the heart.

First off I would like to encourage you to visit your doctor if you have signs of stress like this - no everybody is able to interpret their own symptoms and you may not be experiencing something entirely different.

With that said, however, there is a good chance that what you are feeling is not life-threatening!
Most important is that you do not panic. Pain is created in your brain it does not mean that anything is physically wrong.

What Is It?

Stress chest pain is pain occurring in the chest area when you are under stress. It can be a sign of an anxiety attack but most likely it is not.

We all have a tendency to try and explain things. So when something happens we would like to know why - it is one of the basic mechanisms that have made man so successful!

But in most cases when we feel pain in our chest it is after a short burst of energy, like a shock or running up the stairs, or a period of intensity, like an exam or a highly focused work routine.

In these situations, unless you have a preexisting condition, you have nothing to fear. A little stress is healthy - it makes us act when we have to. Read more about the effects of stress here.

Ask your doctor for a heart stress test to determine whether you should worry or not - I bet that you shouldn't: Heart problems are uncommon to exist unknown in people under 60, this means that most people with heart conditions are aware of it.

When Does It Occur?

Stress chest pain will occur after a high intensity period. Meaning a shorter time span (up to a day) where you had to perform something stressful or something you don't normally do. You are taken out of your comfort zone of stress and pushed a bit further.

Important; if you feel pain in your chest constantly, such as stabbing, throbbing or burning or if the pain is radiating out from your chest - you should seek medical counseling.

The good news about stress chest pain is that although it is often a sign of stress - the stress is often not what directly causes the pain:

A lot of times what your will feel is what is known as facet syndrome a pain directed to your chest but really is a problem somewhere like your back, shoulders or hips.

It should be easy to see how stress can play a role in this game: Stress causes muscle tensioning which causes chest pain.

Stress Chest Pain Cause and EffectStress Chest Pain Cause and Effect

Facet syndrome is quite common. I get it know and then if I have been working long hours - often I occurs around bedtime, so the first time I really felt it I was very scared of course. Now I have minimized the problem by doing the following...

What Can You Do About It?

There are some very effective ways the relieve stress chest pain, like:

Keeping a Good Posture

Whether you are standing or sitting or working with your body through the day, a good posture is important. Keep your back straight, your shoulders relaxed and change positions now and then to minimize tension.

Read more about standing correctly here.

Stretch Your Back and Legs

Every once in a while during your day you should try to stretch your back all the way from your tailbone to the neck.


It is a good idea to sit down of a little while afterwards to relax your joints.

This is done best by standing up and pushing your hips forward. With straight arms perform a lifting motion "all the way to the ceiling" while tilting your head back carefully.

You should end up standing on your toes bend slightly backwards to 1-2 seconds.

Deep Breathing

We do not generally focus enough on our breathing. I it most healthy to breathe with the diaphragm, that means to "breathe with the belly". Not only is it a good stress relieving technique it also helps to keep tensioning away and so help the minimize stress chest pain.

You can use the stressor chart to get a better understanding of your stress and see whether you might have stress chest pain here.