Chest Pain From Stress? It's A Real Thing, But Here's How to Cope & De-Stress

A few weeks ago, I got the worse chest pain of my life. At first, I thought it was probably just heartburn. So I took a couple of Tums and thought I would be able to just move on with my day. However, the chest pain stayed there and continued to become more uncomfortable as time went on.

It was a sharp pain that I felt whenever I moved too quickly, sneezed, laughed, or coughed. I decided after a week of this pain to go to the infirmary on campus. It was after this doctor appointment that I was told that I was healthy, fine and the chest pain most likely was occurring because I was stressed.

I had no idea that stress could create such intense and consistent pain in my body at such a young age. As soon as my chest started hurting, I googled my symptoms and was filled with even more anxiety and fear.

But after going to the doctor and talking to a fellow University of Florida student, I learned that chest pain or a variety of other physical pains that can be attributed to stress are actually pretty common. 

The physical effects of stress 

I had been stressed plenty of other times in my life before coming to college and have had my fair share of headaches from it.

But to have such painful, consistent chest pain led me to believe that it was something more serious. How could stress affect one’s body so much and so intensely? But an online student guide titled, “Surviving Stress and Anxiety in College and Beyond,” discusses how “headaches, chest pain with or without tachycardia, muscle aches, and heartburn and indigestion” are just some of the physical manifestations that stress can create.

Before I went to the doctor, I was talking to one of my friends and she told me that she had actually felt similar chest pains before and was put on prescription medication for the stress related heartburn she was experiencing. The doctor at the infirmary even told me during my appointment that he sees multiple stress related chest pain cases a day. 

Ways to try and control stress and pain 

There are a couple of things that can help to reduce stress. But one of the biggest ways people seem to deal with stress is through exercise.

I’m not the best at sticking to a work out routine; however, I believe that working out doesn’t just improve one’s health but also helps reduce stress.

According to the Mayo Clinic exercise can help one feel better and less stressed as exercising helps to increase the number of endorphins in one’s body and these endorphins are the neurotransmitters responsible for making you and your body feel good.

Besides working out, getting a planner and organizing everything you have going on during the week can help immensely College can be so stressful and sometimes feeling alone at school can add to these feelings of being overwhelmed. With some exercise and mindfulness present in one’s everyday life it can make a huge difference in the way we handle and let stress impact us.

Just because stress is so common in college students today does not mean that we should just accept it for what it is and try our best to deal with the pain. College, the professional field, and our personal lives are becoming increasingly more stressful because of the competitive nature that drives our society.

In part, social media helps to play a role in this increasing amount of stress that young people feel.

There are some things that are out of our control that will always induce some stress; however, with some outlets to help channel that stress, time management skills and less procrastination, it is possible to alleviate some stress from one’s life. I know it is much easier said than done to stop procrastinating and work out instead of binging shows on Netflix, but one’s health and well being is definitely worth it.