Chest Pains - Why Do They Happen

Although they can alert us to important problems, chest pains can also appear in stressful situations or even appear because of bad habits
Chest Pains - Why Do They Happen

Last update: 17 June, 2020

At some point, you may have felt chest pains and they greatly concerned you. No wonder, after all, it’s an organ of the utmost importance in our lives. So, today we’ll tell you why they occur and what they may be alerting you of.

The heart is the organ that works the most in the human body. It beats approximately 115,000 times per day, 80 times per minute and 42 million times per year, even when we’re resting. Also, it’s responsible for pumping clean, oxygen-rich blood and nutrients to each tissue in our body.

In spite of how perfect the functioning of the cardiovascular system may sound, it’s quite common for something to affect its functioning. Similarly, something that may indicate irregularities. Chest pains are one of these things.

Stress, anxiety, and chest pains

Chest pains are an unpleasant sensation that, as the name implies, shows up as acute pain. Kind of similar to pricking yourself with a needle, for example. They can occur at any time and, don’t always bring other symptoms along. As for the causes, these may vary. At least two of them are due to stress and anxiety.

A woman with chest pain.

Cristina Luna, a member of Association Madrileña de Agoraphobia (AMADAG), explains: “our body has memory and accumulates tension, this is the explanation for chest pains when we’re seemingly relaxing.”

You must seek psychological support and improve your life habits if your doctor tells you that anxiety and chronic stress are the sources of your chest pains. This way you’ll be able to relieve some tension. You’ll also learn to manage negative thoughts and emotions. The study conducted by the University of Basel in Switzerland supports this.

Implement the following if you have chest pains due to anxiety or stress:

  • To begin, take a seat, then take a deep breath and concentrate on breathing and exhaling to relax.
  • Then, do some muscle relaxation exercises (to gradually release the accumulated tension).

Other possible causes of chest pains

Chest pains can be associated with a wide variety of things, however, the most common are:


At the same time, when your heart rate is high, you usually breathe more intensely, which can cause chest pains.

This can happen if you’re doing physical exercise or overexerting in any way. Just slow down to relieve your symptoms.


Arrhythmias imply an alteration in the cardiac rhythm, either faster or slower than normal levels, which can cause strong chest pains.


Pericarditis is a disease caused by inflammation of the pericardium. This is the layer that covers the heart and is responsible for:

  • Storing the fluid that lubricates and reduces the friction of the heart.
  • It limits the displacement of the heart.
  • And distributes the pressure of the heart.
  • Also, it isolates the heart, thus avoiding any possible infections.

According to this study conducted by the Vall D’Hebron University General Hospital, it can bring along episodes of chest pains.

An illustration of the heart for pericarditis.

Myocardial infarction causes chest pains

The myocardium is the muscle tissue in our heart that’s responsible for pumping blood through our circulatory system through a contraction.

Therefore, the failure or infarction of this tissue can cause strong pain because a part of the heart stops receiving the blood it requires to function. So, it would cause a strong intermittent pain in the thoracic zone, according to the information extracted from the Fundación Española del Corazón.

When to consult a doctor about your chest pains

If this problem happens regularly, we recommend you go to your doctor. They should be able to check the health of your heart through an electrocardiogram and will indicate the most appropriate treatment.

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