Can angina chest pain be “cured” or reversed with exercise in the absence of medical intervention?

Have you found that your chest pain tends to improve with exercise or physical activity?

Perhaps you begin with chest pain, but after several minutes or so of the activity, it begins to subside?

There could be a benign explanation such as a musculoskeletal issue, especially if the situation overall disappears after a few weeks.

However, don’t count on that. If exercise brings on chest pain, immediately see a cardiologist — even if after several minutes, the situation “gets better” or even disappears.

Don’t assume that the best thing for a heart problem that causes chest pain during activity is to keep doing the activity if you have not been medically treated for it.

“Angina cannot be cured or reversed in the absence of medical intervention,” says Lance S. Burns, MD, emergency medicine specialist, of Legacy ER & Urgent Care, Frisco East location.

“Trying to do so would be medically unwise and potentially lethal. Angina by definition is either a blockage or spasm in a coronary artery.

“Currently, the term coronary syndrome is used to describe this clinical constellation of cardiac issues.”

You can’t make chest pain from angina more medically stable by continuing to exercise even if it improves during the activity.

“It is extraordinarily dangerous to exercise despite chest pain,” says Dr. Burns.

“The thought that exercise will ‘improve the heart’ does not apply when chest pain, shortness of breath or dizziness are present.

“In this setting, the assumption is that the pain is secondary to a diminished blood and oxygen supply to the heart muscle.

“Continuing to exercise only exacerbates the inadequate blood flow and can lead to arrhythmia, permanent damage and potentially death.

“Anyone who experiences chest pain during exercise should stop immediately and seek medical attention.”

The discomfort may also be caused by a non-coronary artery issue of the heart, such as a pre-existing arrhythmia or structural defect.

Dr. Burns has over 30 years of experience, and he specializes in emergency medicine as well as family medicine. For more info: Legacy ER & Urgent Care.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  


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