It’s common to experience some level of discomfort and even pain during and after a vigorous activity. However, it can be very scary if your chest hurts, especially when you exercise.
It’s not always a cause for alarm, but it could be. That is why it is better to be aware the possible causes of chest pain during and after exercise. Here are a few.
Is It Your Clothes?
It is possible that your clothing is the cause of your chest pain. A too tight bra, a shirt that is too small or an underwire poking into you can all cause some level of discomfort. If this is the case, then it’s totally acceptable to go home and change into something more comfortable.
Your clothing has an impact to both your comfort and performance when you exercise. Wearing the right gear can prevent you from suffering any injury.
Women should always wear the right size of bra. You need a supportive sports bra when you jog or go cycling to prevent your chest from moving too much. It’s also not advisable to wear a bra with an underwire which can pierce you through the fabric and hurt you.
You should also have a shirt that is the right size for you. Avoid wearing shirts that are too tight as they will hinder proper blood flow.
Is It Your Breathing?
It could be possible that the way you are breathing is affecting your chest. Are you breathing too shallowly or are you holding your breath?
When you exercise, it’s natural to breathe heavily. But avoid taking short breaths as this can restrict airflow which cause you to feel discomfort in your chest.
Also, try not to hold your breath for too long when you are exercising since this could cause you to feel shortness of breath. Try to breathe deeply using your diaphragm instead of shallowly into your chest.
Take a break if the way you are breathing is causing discomfort in your chest. Then try again after adjusting how you are breathing before continuing with your exercise routine.
Is It Your Heart?
Chest pain while exercising can also be due to heart problems but this should not be taken lightly as it might signal a serious problem. If you experience any other symptoms alongside the chest pain, particularly trouble breathing, then stop what you’re doing and seek medical attention immediately. Some of these symptoms include lightheadedness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting or fainting spells that may accompany the chest pain.
Chest pain which occurs before or after an episode of strenuous physical exertion could be due to a heart problem. If the pain only happens during exercise, then it’s probably not your heart so you can continue with your regime. However, you should consider seeing a doctor if it persists even when resting.
Is It Muscle Strain?
There are times when you feel chest discomfort but there is nothing wrong with your heart. Instead, the cause of this pain is muscle strain particularly in the pectoralis major and minor muscles located on your chest wall just under your breastplate or breasts. Your pec major is responsible for bringing apart your arms while the pec minor help stabilize this movement and assists in inward rotation.
Strenuous exercise can cause muscle strain so if you feel some discomfort, it’s perfectly normal. But if the pain is too much to bear, then stop what you’re doing and rest for a few days before continuing with your exercise routine.
For instance, many yoga poses that involve chest opening like cobra pose or downward facing dog can cause pectoralis major muscles to tighten up. To avoid injury, you should go slowly while keeping your chest lifted throughout the movement. This will prevent straining on your pec minors and other muscles in this area.
What If It’s Serious?
If the location of the pain is different from where it usually occurs (e.g., if your heartburn suddenly starts hurting your neck), then this could be a sign of a serious problem. This means that you should seek medical attention immediately, particularly if the pain is rapid or irregular in nature while you are doing something as simple as walking.
Other symptoms that suggest heart problems include sudden, sharp pain which may radiate to your shoulders and arms, especially on the left side of your chest; intense pressure or heaviness around your neck and jaw or below your breastbone; shortness of breath along with extreme fatigue; nausea and vomiting; lightheadedness; clammy skin; excessive sweating even without activity; and coughing up blood.
Chest pain while exercising is a common symptom that may be due to heart problems, muscle strain, or another condition. Be sure to listen to your body and stop if you experience any type of chest discomfort while working out.