Don’t ignore aches and pains, especially if they radiate from your chest or neck. Chest pain is often caused by simple indigestion — or not. When driving for long periods, your heart maintains your body at a steady pace. This is what is called the resting heart rate. But when you stop, get out of your rig and walk up stairs, or even walk briskly, your heart rate increases to send blood to all the extremities as well as your lungs and internal organs. What people don’t think about is the fact that your heart muscle needs blood as well. If your heart doesn’t’ get enough blood fast enough — it hurts.
There are thousands of small blood vessels feeding the heart muscle. There is also one big one — the left descending coronary artery. This big vessel carries the bulk of the blood to the heart. You may have hundreds of small clogged arteries, and not even know it, but when the left descending artery blocks or clogs, you get real pain. Don’t ignore it.
The problem with this type of pain — it can go away when you sit down. It hurts initially until you get in the driver’s seat and then after a few minutes, it can disappear completely and you forget about it. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have had a heart attack. It simply means that there is a lack of blood flow to your heart when it is under pressure.
The pain to recognize typically starts deep in the center of your chest. As you exert yourself by walking, running or climbing stairs, the pain grows into a ball in your chest. It can then radiate up to your jaw, down one or both arms, up your neck or down your back. If it gets this bad, you should immediately call for help. Sit down and try to calm yourself. Your life may depend on it.