A pain in your toe, no biggie, right? But a pain chest really gets your attention. It’s one of those symptoms that can be startling and scary. The bottom line with chest pain is that it’s important to figure out why it’s happening, as it can be caused by anything from a panic attack to muscle strain to a heart problem. Most seriously, chest pain can signal that you’re having a heart attack (or that one will happen soon), so make sure to seek emergency medical attention right away, especially if you also feel nauseous, dizzy, or short of breath. The tricky part is that different people experience chest pain from a heart attack in different ways, so don’t wait to seek help—even if you don’t think you’re having “classic” heart attack symptoms. We promise, it’s far better to err on the side of caution! If your chest pain is more chronic, and less episodic—aka it doesn’t really go away—you might have angina, which means that some of your heart isn’t getting enough blood. Angina is a warning sign for heart disease, so it’s important to take any chest pain seriously and seek professional advice—even if it might be from that last chaturanga-heavy yoga session. Chest pain can also be a symptom of heart block associated with Lyme carditis or a condition called postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (aka POTS), which affects blood flow. If you’re experiencing chest pain of any kind, don’t panic—but do see your practitioner to find out what's going on.
- Harvard Health Publishing. Chest pain: A heart attack or something else? Harvard Health Publishing. Chest pain: A heart attack or something else?
- Cleveland Clinic. Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). Cleveland Clinic. Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS).
- Int J Cardiol. Manifestations of Lyme carditis. Int J Cardiol. Manifestations of Lyme carditis.
- American Heart Association. Angina in women can be different than men. American Heart Association. Angina in women can be different than men.
- Infect Dis Clin North Am. Lyme carditis. Infect Dis Clin North Am. Lyme carditis.