Causes Of Chest Cramps While Running: How To Treat & Prevent It?

Runners may experience some degree of soreness in the muscles of the abdomen and legs, after a run. Some also experience pain and cramps in the chest while running. Whilst most cases of chest cramps when running are not an emergency, pain that is severe, constant or attended to by certain other features calls for immediate medical aid.

Cramps and discomfort in the front and middle of the chest when you run may occur slowly and you may feel somewhat uncomfortable; or it could occur suddenly and you may experience excruciating pain.

In case the pain continues for more than 15 minutes, is extremely severe or is accompanied by sweating, breathlessness, giddiness, pain radiating to the left arm, neck, or jaw, you may be having a heart attack. You need immediate medical help.

What Causes Chest Cramps While Running?

Chest cramps while running result due to a problem with any of the muscles or organs in the body.

  • Heart disorders like angina trigger pain when the heart is forced to exert more, while running.
  • Likewise, respiratory conditions like asthma, pleurisy, pneumonia, pneumothorax and pulmonary embolism cause pain while running because of the body’s increased respiratory rate.
  • Digestive problems like inflammatory digestive disorders and heartburn also cause chest pain during exercise.
  • Runners who have diabetes, hypertension or high cholesterol or those who smoke are known to have an added risk of developing chest cramps when they run; furthermore men have a greater risk than women. The pain may last from a few seconds to more than 15 minutes, and this could indicate a serious condition.

How To Treat And Prevent Chest Cramps While Running

  • Your doctor may prescribe certain drugs such as broncho dilators to manage and prevent chest pain triggered due to asthma; they also prescribe acid reducers in case the cramp is because of acid reflux.
  • In case your health care provider suspects you have angina, you need to take medicines as prescribed to treat arterial plaque, and also to avert the development of blood clots. Your doctor may need to conduct a surgery to eliminate blockages in the arteries and also to effectively treat chest pain resulting from pneumothorax and pulmonary embolism.
  • Those having asthma should consider running in climate-controlled environments to ward off an asthma attack.
  • Also, experts advocate avoiding running after a large, heavy meal to thwart cramps in the chest in people who have gastric reflux.
  • Some doctors also say that if you do not breathe properly, you exert an additional pressure on the lungs and the heart; you have to breathe correctly and watch your CO2 levels.
  • You have a lot of muscles, ligaments and tendons in the chest area. Experts also recommend stretching and exercising the pectoral muscles, to allay and prevent the chest cramps. If you do not do strength training then you may develop some tightness in the area due to muscle atrophy due to a lack of training those muscles. You should talk to and confer with a physiotherapist.
  • If vigorous exercise sets off the chest pain, then you should contemplate jogging, swimming or walking fast, instead of running.
  • Most importantly, you must lead a healthy lifestyle, avoid or quit smoking and exercise daily for half an hour to avoid medical conditions that cause chest pain.

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