What It Really Means When You Get Chest Pain While Running

Running is a great cardio workout that many people enjoy participating in. You should feel good during and after exercise. If you notice chest pain while running, something isn't right. There are several different things that can cause tightness and discomfort in your chest.

"Chest pain that occurs while running may have a variety of causes," David Friedman, M.D., chief of heart failure services at Long Island Jewish Valley Stream Hospital, told Women's Health. "While it's important not to ignore pain, not all chest pain while running is cause for concern."

If you're new to running or haven't exercised in a long time, your chest pain may be a result of your body adjusting to working that hard. This type of pain should get better as you become more fit. Another potential cause of chest discomfort is cramping in the muscles around your ribcage. This is often caused by dehydration, so make sure to drink enough water before and during your run.

Chest pain may mean something more serious

It is important to be aware of the symptoms of more serious health issues that can also cause chest pain while running. Heart attacks while running are not common but will cause severe chest pain when they happen. Other symptoms of a heart attack include pain in one or both arms, shortness of breath, nausea, light-headedness, fatigue, and cold sweats (via The Healthy). Other health conditions like angina, supraventricular tachycardia, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can all cause chest pain. One of the conditions will usually result in chest pain outside of exercise as well, but this isn't always the case.

If your chest pain doesn't subside quickly or you don't know what's causing it, the best thing to do is visit your doctor. "When in doubt, go get checked out! The worst you'll experience is some expense and some embarrassment if it turns out it was nothing life-threatening," Janet Hamilton, CSCS., told Women's Health. "If it was something serious, you may have just saved your own life."