Chest Pains Linked to Caffeine Sensitivity

Chest pain is serious in any form. Adjust your coffee intake and avoid a trip to the doctor. I rushed to the Emergency thinking I had a heart attack the night before. The cause was not what I had expected.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and this article should not be used to treat or diagnose an illness. If you are having chest pains you should see a doctor immediately. The information included within this article is based on my particular case and should be used for informational purposes only.


Your heart “aches”.

Pulling across your chest

You can feel your heartbeat irregularly for a few seconds . Called “palpitations”

Your heartbeat suddenly startles you

Laying on your left side is uncomfortable

What My Doctor Says:

Too much caffeine and/or energy drinks (Commonly coupled with stress or lack of sleep)

Potential Damage:

A constant, abnormally fast heartbeat can cause muscle damage within the heart, over time. 

Other Harmful Drinks:

Energy drinks

Iced Tea

Mountain Dew and Jolt Cola


Anything with caffeine, guarana, ginseng and especially taurine

Weight loss (metabolism) pills

Additionally, you may find that some energy drinks do not cause you any symptoms of caffeine sensitivity. For example, I can drink RedBull without feeling symptoms of caffeine sensitivity, but the other fore-named drinks cause symptoms for me.

The Fix:

Drink ”half caffeine” coffee. Your local coffee spot will be glad to make you a “1/2 caff” version of your favorite,

Drink only Decaf. (This was my doctor’s orders)

Avoid the above mentioned drinks and stick with water and non-caffeinated soda.

My Trip To The ER

I checked in to the Emergency room complaining of severe “electrical” chest pains I had the night before. They only lasted a second but were terrifying. They took me in right away for an EKG.

My heart rhythm was abnormally fast even after an hour into the EKG.

The doctor asked, “Did you have coffee this morning?” I answered “Yes?” I wondered why this mattered to my case.

She asked, “Do you drink a lot of coffee?” I answered her nosy question…”Yes, about a pot or 2 per day.”

“Ahhhh”, the doctor said, and then asked me to “bear down” like giving childbirth. I did. She had me hold it for what seemed like forever (only 10 seconds or so). When she finally told me to relax I felt my heart jump out of my chest.

After that, my heart rate was normal. I had “tricked” my heart back into a normal rhythm after charging it with mega caffeine for years. The doctor said, “If you ever feel like your heart is pounding out of control, “bear down”. By doing this, you can reset your heart’s rhythm”.

Of course I felt very silly for running to the Emergency Room due a “caffeine overdose”. The doctor said that if my heart rate had stayed that way for much longer, I would have done long-term damage to it.

Please seek medical attention for chest pains. This article is meant for information regarding sensitivity to caffeine.

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  1. a pot or two….Now, you know better! I want you around to write….I hope you have curbed that :)

  2. Thanks Jo, Yeah with studies I would just keep getting up to fill my cup. Scary stuff.


  4. So sorry for the late response Forever Poetry.
    “Bearing down” would be the same as when you’re on the potty and you know you need to go # 2, but can’t, so you push. Sorry for the description, but it’s the same thing. You should be holding your breath if you’re pushing correctly.

  5. Hi
    I think there are people who are susceptible to the effects of these extreme energy drinks and dont realise the effects until they finally go to the hospital etc.Especially mixing alcohol with caffeine. Just look at what the kids can now buy from local stores – tiny 60ml shots with 200mg caffeine!

    I dont drink coffee but have drunk 1 355ml bottle of V energy drink a day for a few years.

    Recently I had bad heart palpitations which would go on and on for hours,starting and stopping so I couldnt sleep. It was horrible-the hospital said to quit drinking the energy drinks and reduce my stress.

    I quit V, and now drink a can of coke instead in the morning and one at dinnertime-I still get the odd one or two irregular beats but no where near as bad.

    Im guessing Im so addicted Il have to keep drinkn coke as a substitute for quite some time. Atleast thats about 5 x less than a V has.

    Ive noticed that If I now drink any more caffeine than that I get racing – as if I now have a caffeine sensitivity – I guess il have to start drinking green tea or similar!


  6. Thanks for sharing your story Mike. I have the same dilemma. I started drinking Red Bulls, one 8 ounce can per day, in substitute for my coffee. For some reason, the Red Bull does not have the extreme palpatations effect on me that coffee does. I began drinking excessive amounts of Red Bull (12 and 16 ounce cans, 3-4 per day) and began waking up in the middle of the night with palpatations–tightness in my chest while exercising.
    I am afraid that I will need to switch to Green Tea as well, but agree that I will need tro wean myself off of the heavy does of caffiene.
    I know I should listen to the doctor, but it is so tough to get through my day without a couple of naps if I do not have any caffiene.
    Energy drinks should definately be an age-restricted sale at 18 years old.

  7. Thank you a lot, I have to cut my coffee intake, I had a heart problem episode last moth after drinking drip coffee and working in cold weather ! since that day I feel pain in heart region.

  8. I have been having these feelings too as well lately. Yet I only have a cup of coffee(travel Cup) in the morning and one in the evening. I thought it might be due to what i was eating, but that is not the case. I will have to drop back my doses of coffee in the morning

  9. I will research coffee in cold weather, it’s sounds valid and I’m wondering what the connection is. Thanks for posting, Joe!

    Cam, I know it seems like we’ve cut down to almost NO caffeine but our bodies are so tired of being chemicially persueded I think and just want us to stop altogether. There are times I my body can tolerate a cup of coffee in the am and an energy drink later but I usually don’t know if it’ll hit me until I go lay down at night. My chest always lets me know if I’ve had too much caffeine etc… that day.

  10. I have an underlying heart Valve problem so its kinda hard for me i find what works is if you eat some food and do like half a cup de-caff half caffeinated its not so bad and takes while to absorb.

    Also you don’t realise that coffee can de-hydrate you very easily so make sure you get some water down too.

    Now i mostly stick to cups of tea as its a slow stimulant that isn’t so catastrophic as 1 cup of coffee !!


  11. For about 2 years i was under a lot of stress, having a full time job and going to school full time (with 5-7 classes a semester)
    So to help me get through the day i would drink at least one full Rockstar or Monster a day.. Sometimes 2. Everyday. For 2 years.

    I never thought I would have a problem with it because I felt GREAT at the time! I had never had any health problems in the past (given that i was only 20 a the time).

    I am now 23 and have been dealing with sharp stabbing pains in my chest on the left side. To me it feels like mini heart attacks. After numerous EKG’s, chest x-rays, ultrasounds of my heart, stress tests of my heart, and whatnot, my doctors can find no problems or other factors contributing to my chest pains.

    I stopped drinking energy drinks, and now have cut caffeine out of my diet completely. I have noticed a decrease in the pain, but any time I do have a soda with caffeine my heart will race and I will have a significant increase in those chest pains. I also am far more tired throughout the day than before i drank caffeine, and i can’t get enough sleep.

    I should have listened to the people who told me that caffeine would have horrible side effects one day. Who knows what kind of problems will arise from this in the future? Those energy drinks are totally like a drug, and far to risky for children who don’t know the repercussions of excessive caffeine intake.

  12. Wow I just googled my symptoms because I was having this crazy fast heartbeat and shocking pain. i kind of suspected caffine (just had 2 dr peppers and a starbucks coffee. Anyway I beared down for 10 seconds and my chest felt like it popped!! i FEEL SO MUCH BETTER NO MORE FAST HEARTBEAT OR PAIN!!!! Thanks no EKG tonight!!!

  13. Wow I just googled my symptoms because I was having this crazy fast heartbeat and shocking pain. i kind of suspected caffine (just had 2 dr peppers and a starbucks coffee. Anyway I beared down for 10 seconds and my chest felt like it popped!! i FEEL SO MUCH BETTER NO MORE FAST HEARTBEAT OR PAIN!!!! Thanks no EKG tonight!!!

  14. Just wanted to say thank you. Being having chest pains for a couple of days and contemplated the ER more than once. I am a vivid caffeine drinker myself. Mt. Dew + Monster everyday. Even drinking a Diet Coke seemed to agitate my chest discomfort. After linking the association I came across your experience. The bear down method worked. Same as others described. Immediately felt relief! I will still seek a doctor soon for a medical review, but its good to feel relief after a couple of days and have some possible explanation.

  15. One word you used in your description caught my attention. You talked about ‘electrical’ chest pain. I have noticed the same type thing and the work electrical would be the way I would describe it to a doctor. So far, my family doctor is stumped. I almost always experience this if I drink coffee and Mountain Dew in the same day. Mine ‘pain’ is more like a jolt that is instantaneous and definitely gets my attention. It can happen multiple times a day and is alarming when it happens. It does not give off symptoms like a heart attack (a crushing feeling in the chest) and sometimes I can duplicate it by turning my torso and taking a deep breath. It’s almost like its more musculo-skeletal but seems to be related to caffeine intake.

  16. This has been so helpful, thanks for posting it! The bearing down has really worked for me and I am working on eliminating caffeine from my daily diet. I get the chest pain after only 32 ounces of Diet Soda, scary stuff. I guess I’ve drank my cold cups of coffee for too many years and my body is telling me it’s had enough:)

  17. There is NO caffiene in taurine OR ginseng ! This is bad info and makes one wonder what else in this article is eronious.

  18. The article does not say that taurine or ginseng has caffeine.

  19. How long did these chest pains last? Mine started as a dull ache in the center now its moved to the left side. I stopped drinking any caffeine for the last 36hrs and still have pains I’m wondering if I should see a reduce in pain.

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