Feeling anxious about certain things in life is normal. However, it’s not a good sign if you worry about it for long. It indicates that you might be suffering from an anxiety disorder. While anxiety disorder majorly affects the mental health of an individual, it also hurts physically. Can anxiety cause stomach and chest pains, this is something that people ask frequently.
Before answering that question, let us know more about anxiety.
What is Anxiety Disorder?
Anxiety is a feeling but not a good one. It’s the feeling of fear. Fear about the future, the unknown or a new job. It is natural to be afraid when doing things for the first time. The red signal is when you continue being nervous, worried or afraid for more than six months.
Anxiety disorder has common symptoms like Weakness, dizziness, insomnia, hyperventilation, and nervousness. In addition to this, you may also have pain in your stomach and chest.
Chest pain due to anxiety
Chest pain is usually associated with heart attacks and panic disorder. Not many people are aware of the fact that chest pain is a symptom of anxiety as well.
But how do you differentiate a chest pain caused due to anxiety from that of a heart attack?
Well, if you feel a stabbing sensation in your chest as if someone is poking you with a sharp knife, it is due to anxiety. This pain lasts less than 10 minutes. Chest pain by anxiety usually occurs when a person is at rest.
On the other hand, the chest pain caused due to heart attack spreads over other body parts. The intensity of pain increases gradually and occurs when the person is moving actively.
Stomach pain due to anxiety
How does one know if stomach pain is caused due to anxiety?
Think of it this way, you have an important presentation to give. You are all prepared but nervous. Suddenly, you start feeling the pain in your abdominal area. This pain, right before an event like this, is because of anxiety.
Our brain reflects mental disorders in the form of physical pain. In this case, feelings of anxiety are coming up in the form of abdominal pain.
Most of the people believe abdominal pain is caused due to gas or the kind of food they eat. However, it is also caused due to emotions of fear, anxiety, or stress.
And If you’re already suffering from gastrointestinal conditions, anxiety may aggravate the problem.
Measures to be take
Anxiety produces physical symptoms like dizziness, sweating and breathing problems. This is because your brain does physiological changes to your body due to the chemicals produced. Emotions keep fluctuating, like one moment you’re angry and the next you’re calm. This is known as fight or flight response.
And if this happens too frequently, it increases the muscle tension which in turn leads to pain in the chest.
This may also affect your gut and hurt the stomach.
So, what action should you take?
Start off with some of the following things you can do by yourself.
- Practice deep breathing techniques as it relaxes both your body and mind.
- Recognize your thought patterns and acknowledge your feelings. This will help you think from a different perspective.
- Use relaxation apps that help you reduce anxiety or stress through certain techniques and exercises.
- Visualization helps a lot. When you’re feeling anxious, divert your mind and visualize a beautiful scene.
In terms of physical health, make sure you’re taking good care of your body. It may help reduce the intensity of pain.
In the extreme case scenario, when you’re unable to handle it on your own, it is highly advisable to consult a doctor. A therapist may help reduce physical pain while a doctor can help in reducing anxiety.