Triggers & Coping Strategies

Self Help and Self-Awareness

The following are prevention and coping strategies that some people have found helpful in managing their coronary vasospasms. Please discuss these strategies with your Cardiology team to ensure they are safe and appropriate for you to adopt. Some supplements and herbs can interact with the conventional medications you are already prescribed. They may also be expensive with varied concentrations and quality control of the contents.

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Trigger Reduction – Know your triggers!


  • Stress reduction & management
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi
  • Mindfulness mediation
  • Breathing and relaxation techniques including self-hypnosis
  • Exercise – Explore nature!
  • Develop an artful skill such as drawing, cooking, or knitting
  • Volunteer
  • Adopt pacing techniques such as the Spoon theory
  • Listen to your body and don’t overdo it!
  • Avoid stress whenever possible
  • Ask for help from a professional to receive counseling
  • Talk with your support network and doctor
  • Reduce Risks of Getting Cold
    • Layer up with clothing to stay warm.
    • Bring a jacket and gloves.
    • Keep warm by wearing many light layers of thermal base layers.
    • Line your shoes and boots with fleece liners
    • Keep your nose and mouth covered when walking out in the cold weather
    • Wear Silver threaded lining gloves

Reducing Inflammation


  • Acupuncture (note: if you are on antiplatelet treatment or taking aspirin, acupuncture maybe contraindicated)
  • Turmeric
  • CoQ10
  • Exercise
  • Cutting excess sugar out of your diet

Sleep, glorious sleep!

  • Ensure a good nights sleep
  • If you are able, exercise! It assists adequate sleep patterns
  • Relaxation exercises – these promote healthy sleeping habits

Consider the influence of hormones

  • Monitor your period (Clue is a great free app for your phone for tracking your cycle!)
  • Ensure hemoglobin is in normal range
  • An Intrauterine system (IUS) or Hormonal coil can help reduce anemia and avoid a hysterectomy
  • Oral Contraceptive Pill – discuss with your Cardiologist
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) – discuss with your Cardiologist and Menopause specialist

Oxidative Stress & Free Radical Reduction


This can be achieved with the use of Antioxidants such as:

  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin C
  • CoQ10 (Co-Enzyme Q10)
  • N-AC (N-Acetyl Cysteine)

Avoidance of other possible triggers


  • Cease smoking and avoid second hand smoke
  • Avoid any medications or substances that may provoke a vasospasm (e.g. beta blockers)
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Reduce or avoid caffeine intake
  • Reduce or avoid alcohol consumption – it may deplete magnesium
  • Avoid extreme weather conditions
  • Stay out of humidity or excessive heat

Pain Management

  • Attend a Pain Management course
  • Engage in CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)
  • Access support from a Pain/Cardiac psychologist
  • TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) machine
    • If you have a Pacemaker, using a TENS machine may also be contraindicated

Coping strategies during Angina episodes


  • Use prescribed Short acting sublingual spray or tablets rescue nitrate/GTN as instructed by your cardiologist 
  • Take a very warm shower or bath 
  • Apply a heating pad or hot water bottle on chest and areas of discomfort 
  • Consume a warm drink  
  • Rest by taking regular naps 
  • Apply a cold cloth behind neck on humid day
  • TENS machine if medically able
  • Use breathing and relaxation  techniques
  • Self-hypnosis
  • Listen to relaxing music 
  • Have an agreed Admission Protocol arranged with your Cardiologist and hospital to manage your inpatient episodes

Get Informed

Learn all about the symptoms, causes and triggers of these heart conditions.

Educate. Inform. Enlighten.

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