You may have to focus more on preventing angina pain than relieving it. Though there are some medications that may stop an angina attack and provide pain relief, many medications are primarily aimed at preventing the attacks. Likewise, there are many lifestyle changes you may make when you have angina. These lifestyle changes may not stop an attack that is already in progress, but they may help prevent an attack in the first place.
One way to treat angina pain is to take medication for the condition. Several types of medication work to prevent or stop angina attacks, such as aspirin; nitrates, which relax the blood vessels and make them wider; and beta blockers, which are used to block adrenaline and slow the heart rate. Other medications may be used for this purpose as well, including drugs called statins, which are typically used for lowering blood pressure, and calcium channel blockers, which work to make the blood vessels wider and more relaxed. Medications called angiogenesis-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors may also be used for relaxing your blood vessels, and in turn, stopping pain or preventing its occurrence.
Nitrates are particularly good for treating the pain caused by an attack of angina that has already started as opposed to just preventing attacks. When you initially feel the chest pain that is typical of angina, you may take this type of medication. You may also take this type of medication when you are planning to participate in a physical activity that may cause an angina attack. There are various types of nitrates that can be used for this purpose, but nitroglycerin tablets are among those most commonly prescribed by doctors. You typically take them by placing them under your tongue.
Rest can also be used to treat and prevent angina. You may note that your attacks are triggered by physical activity. As such, it may help to avoid heavy exertion or take breaks while involved in physical activity. Additionally, stopping physical activity when the pain of angina starts may also help reduce pain while you wait for medication to work.
Lifestyle changes may not work to treat angina pain that is already occurring but may help prevent episodes. For example, you may prevent angina pain by paying attention to its triggers and working to minimize or avoid them. You may, for example, notice that your angina attacks are triggered by large meals. In an attempt to avoid pain, you may eat lighter meals. The same goes for emotional stress, which can also contribute to or trigger attacks of angina.
In addition to avoiding triggers, you may work to prevent angina attacks and the accompanying pain by quitting smoking and participating in exercise that is approved by your doctor. You may also work to keep your weight within a healthy range. Additionally, you may work to prevent angina attacks and stay healthy by taking any medications your doctor has prescribed for other health conditions.