There you are running, slowly picking up the pace when a sharp pain, out of nowhere, stabs you in the chest. You stumble in pain and shock. Is it a heart attack, you ask yourself? You might want to know that chest pain is a common occurrence among runners. However, it is important to know when to dismiss it as nothing serious and when to seek medical advice. If ever in doubt, always seek medical attention immediately.
So what could be the reasons why your chest hurts?
Increased blood pressure or pulse rate
Chest pains can be caused by conditions such as an increase in heart rates as well as blood pressure. Stress and depression are the main causes that bring about blood pressure. Energy drinks contain stimulants that can speed up the heart rate. Avoid such drinks before going for a run. Rapid breathing can also lead to chest pains.
You just started running
Are you new to running? Well, if that is the case and your chest hurts then maybe it could because you are pushing yourself too hard. It usually takes time for your body to adjust to exercises. So if you are not used to running, do not be overzealous. Start slowly, warm up a bit. This is no race. Dou you want to run fast? Don’t worry you will get there, just take your time.
Strain on chest muscles
Sometimes running a lot can wear out the rib cage muscles. The fatigue might cause a jolt of pain in the chest that gets more painful as you keep on running. Insufficient water is often a key cause of the cramping up. Drinking a lot of water is mostly all you need to avoid future chest pains.
Inhaling cold air
When cold, dry outdoor air mixes with the warmth and heat of the lungs sometimes causes a sharp pain in the chest. This usually passes away with time as the body adjusts to the new conditions. However, people with asthma tend to take more time to adjust to the cold air. It is important to dress warmly and possibly put on a scarf over your nose and mouth as this helps to preheat incoming air before it approaches the lungs.
Lung conditions such as asthma can cause severe chest pains when running. Therefore, asthmatics should arm themselves with inhalers as when running. Pneumothorax, the leakage of air in the cavity between the lungs and the chest wall, albeit a less common condition, can cause a lasting explosion of pain and breathing difficulties. Blood clots in the lungs also result in sharp pains that go on well after you have stopped running. In such cases, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention.
Yeah, I know. People dread even the mention of it. However, it is imperative to understand and learn about certain heart complications. When you run and push yourself too hard beyond your body limits, sometimes the heart is unable to pump enough blood into the chest muscles, a condition called angina. This causes a sudden gush of pain under the breastbone. The pain usually extends to adjacent regions. Nausea, breathing difficulties, giddiness and an increased heartbeat often accompany the pain.
When you feel a sharp pain in your chest when running, it is advisable you immediately stop running. The persistence of the pain after that will determine your next action.
If you get some relief from the pain, you should still make a point of visiting the doctor. He or she will check your heart and lung conditions for possible causes. He might refer you to a cardiologist if he or she cannot determine the exact cause of the pain.
Pain that persists
However, if the pain persists on followed by palpitation and dizziness you should immediately make a hospital emergency call or visit a cardiologist quickly enough.
Luckily, only few chest pains are as a result of heart problems. Since you cannot establish the precise reason you have the pains, it is extremely imperative to make an appointment with the doctor as soon as you can