T Nation

Anxiety Due to Tight Muscles?


Does anyone else get small bouts with anxiety attacks due to muscle tightness?

For the past few months I've been getting anxious from my calves, groin, hips, and quads being tight. I stretch regularly, sometimes up to 3 times daily for about 10-20 minutes each. But whats really bad about it it, i'll stretch if I start to get that anxious feeling, then 10 minutes later I'll get the feeling again. Except its worse, because it almost feels like I can literally feel my muscles tense back up.

I'm not claustrophobic (sp?) because I've been put in tight spaces before. I'm fine on elevators, in MRI's, being cornered in a restaurant booth. Although I do get these feelings in those situations, but I get them just as often if not more (being that I'm put in these situations more often) than being in the middle of my kitchen, or sitting in school. I'm 5'8 so its not like I dont fit in the desks.

Has anyone else had "feelings" like this before? There are some certain situations where I just cant get up and walk or jog or do a few high knees in the middle. Class, church, and out to dinner to name a few.

Any suggestions?


First, no, I've never experience that.

However, I have heard that posture can impact your mood or stress level. Basically, there are a series of reactions we make when facing a "fight or flight" situation.

If you are mimicking those reactions, such as clenching fists and so on (I can't remember what they all are), it can cause the brain to assume there is stress.

You might also want to double check the possible side effects of any medications, if you are taking any.


After I had quit smoking I started having problems with anxiety attacks.

The thing that helped me to overcome them was to pay attention to my breathing. When I felt an attack coming on I realised that I was breathing in fast short breaths and also clenching my chest, jaw and shoulders.

Basically, I was putting my body in a fight or flight situation.

The hardest thing for me to do was to accept that they were actually anxiety attacks. I kept going from doctor to doctor trying to find out what was wrong with me.

Good luck, if it keeps happening don`t be embarresed to talk to a doctor or your family and freinds about it.


I agree with what's been said so far. Posture and breathing play a big part in what you're feeling.

If you can, get a hold of Magnificent Mobility by Cressey and Robertson. I use this before work outs, and when I first wake up.

I also use a lot of Scott Sonnon's stuff. His materials emphasize breathing, movement and alignment and are great for what you describe. I can't recommend it enough.

To sum up, try some joint mobility work, emphasizing smooth, controlled breathing prior to your stretching. Hope that helps.