Q. Can a panic attack cause stabbing pain in the chest during the night?

Answered by
Dr. Prashant Valecha
and medically reviewed by Dr. Sushrutha Muralidharan
This is a premium question & answer published on Nov 04, 2021

Hi doctor,

On Thursday, I woke up with sharp pain under my left rib. It came and went throughout the day. In the night, I got up and had stabbing pain in the chest, then was mostly fine on Friday until bedtime. I got in bed going to sleep and had pain under my left rib again and heart flutter (not sure if this was then a panic attack) this morning, mostly fine, just the odd bit of pain. I have been very stressing lately. Kindly give your opinion.



Welcome back to

I hope you are doing good.

To rule out the cardiac cause of your pain, you should do few tests.

1) ECG (electrocardiogram).

2. 2D echocardiography.

3. TMT (treadmill test) or stress test.

If all these three are normal, then it can be muscular pain or panic anxiety attacks.

I hope this was helpful.

Hi doctor,

Thank you.

How likely is it to be cardiac? Can anxiety cause pain all day? Kindly give your opinion.



Welcome back to

Cardiac pain intensity will always increase with exertion like walking, bathing, running, exercising, etc. In your case, first, it was a whole day, then on Friday the whole day, no pain but at night while going to bed. So it seems not related to exertion.

Mostly it sounds non-cardiac, but according to medical guidelines, all chest pain should be taken seriously and cardiac cause to be ruled out.

If you do not have pain while running or brisk walking, then mostly it is a non-cardiac pain.

I hope this was helpful.

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