Heart palpitations/fast heartbeat trig... - Arrhythmia Alliance

Arrhythmia Alliance

5,114 members1,777 posts

Heart palpitations/fast heartbeat triggered from bending over? Vagus nerve?


Hey everyone, this is something that has been happening occasionally for a few years now. I'm a 19 year old male, frequently weight train and do cardio as well. I've had this thing where if I bend over too abruptly (I've noticed it's made worse when my stomach is full or I breathe in) my heartbeat will go from normal to probably 100-120 bpm and palpitating, can last anywhere from 30 sec to upwards of 10 minutes. It's happened bending over to pick something up too fast, jumping up to grab a pullup bar, or even initiating a deadlift; seems anything that compresses the vagus nerve has a chance to trigger this.

I've gotten regular checkups with a cardiologist and they didn't find anything out of the ordinary (no arrhythmias etc, no diagnosed AFib or anything of the sort), so my heart is very healthy overall but I'm still not sure if these episodes are something I should worry about. They disappear as fast as they come, like I can actually feel my heartbeat come back to normal and it's a scary feeling, it almost feels painful when it returns to normal. I'm afraid one day it'll try to reset and just go into cardiac arrest or something. I've tried to research this online but can't seem to find anything that fits. Closest thing I've found is maybe the vagus nerve gets compressed somehow in spinal flexion, or that bending over creates increased intra-abdominal pressure (but that topic doesn't say anything about it causing prolonged palpitations).

Thanks everyone!

9 Replies


This was the main trigger for me. I was found to have SVT but took awhile to diagnosis it as it would always stop before they could do an ECG.

I've now had a ablation in February for it abd although they thought they had got it I still get very small episodes when I bend down.

Like you, alxke I was in my late teens when I experienced something very similar for the first time while halfway through an American Football match when I was a cheerleader. It felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest but I started to feel very light headed, the blood drained from my face and I went clammy, I had no wrist pulse I could feel, and then seeing stars and the lights went bright the longer it went on. I thought I was having a heart attack but as I lay down (which felt very strange and I could see and feel my heartbeat in my rib cage) it stopped leaping about with a ‘bump’ - as suddenly as it started - and within seconds I was back to normal and feeling absolutely fine. ECG showed nothing, but that was before mobile heart rate monitors. GP diagnosed SVT anyway, but because it was exercise-induced I wasn’t put on medication and given some vagus nerve exercises to try to stop an episode quickly. Initially I had to lay down to be effective and it freaked everyone out. It freaked me out to begin with. But I soon got the hang of it. Holding my breath and bearing down worked ok, but simply relaxing and focussing on my breathing was just as good if I could get my head below my heart. I got very good at ‘adjusting my shoelace’ at aerobics so no-one even realised. Over the years I worked out what triggered it for me - an abrupt exertion and jolt. Jumping up bringing both knees up to my chest used to be a ‘warm up’ exercise for TaeKwonDo - so I just stopped doing that because I knew it would trigger my heart. Often my breathing is involved as well - I breathe in or hold my breath at the ‘wrong’ moment when my body receives a jerk (when horse riding for example) and off it goes! In those cases I bend down ‘to check my stirrup’ and relax, which stops the episode in seconds. Now I run as well, but never had an episode on a run - possibly because my breathing is rhythmical with my stride and it isn’t a big jolt. So now I am 52 and lived with this my whole adult life. It hasn’t become unpredictable or more frequent - I may get 2 a year - and it’s always when I am exercising. So I just make a note of the circumstances if one happens and am ready to go back to my GP if things start to change. Do get yourself checked out - as there are loads of types of SVT and arrhythmia - but if it’s a start/stop type of thing you might find you learn how to avoid them, and live with them, almost without thinking. It doesn’t have to stop you doing anything, but I do tend to warn fitness instructors now about what happens and how I control it, so they don’t panic if I trigger an episode. Good luck 🤗

EngMac in reply to Equi-geek

I have AF which is triggered by back issues, mostly T5 now. I have experienced everything mentioned in your post and those of the others who have commented. Heart doctors consider the heart and don’t believe nerve issues in the back have an impact on the heart. I have only found one study about this. I have tried many treatments and some negatively affect how the heart behaves and some positively affect it. Unfortunately, these fluctuate seemingly for no reason. Chiropractic probably helped some. Scenar helped a bit. It can stimulate the vagus nerve. PEMF (pulsed electromagnetic field) therapy has changed things the most. I only know of one PEMF device that is worth purchasing. These devices are expensive and take lots of time to use to get results. But they don’t have drug side effects and don’t damage the heart like ablations do. No risky operations either.

I have not found the complete solution but I do know what you experience is likely spine related; and as you age and your spines changes, you could experience more frequent heart arrhythmias. I suggest you find a good chiropractor who can keep your spine in proper alignment. I am much older so know how age has changed things for me.

I post every so often. You may wish to look at some of my old posts on this subject.

EngMac in reply to EngMac

I know only one economical scenar with free advice and training. Without training, Scenar is probably not effective.

PEMF balances the parasympathetic and sympathetic nerves better than Scenar. This keeps you more balanced in your behaviour and outlook. Training is also essential when using PEMF.

Hello, I experienced my first Paroximal Tachycardia (P.A.T) episode while at work while bent over my desk. I was 40 yrs at the time, and I was driven to the hospital with a heartbeat of over 200 BPM. I was told it could just be a one time thing and that it might never happen again.

* WRONG...I experienced Tachycardia episodes for the next 30 plus years with control maintained with various pills. I was told it was called PAT and SVPAT and was prescribed pills to keep the heartbeat normal.

Only went to hospital to get it stopped if it lasted over an hour or it got too rapid Was told it would not kill me.

The last time I went to ER to get it stopped, they tried the paddles, but it kept going back into it. and the nurse told me "you are all over the place" when she looked at the monitors, then another doctor said it was A-Fib. and I was kept e in hosp to have an ablation. I had the ablation, which was done with an error. but when I recovered - it stopped the tachycardia & A-Fib for about 3 years without any further problems, until I went into A-Fib again, but I am able to end it with taking sips of cold water, deep breaths and waiting it out.

For years I have talked to the doctors about it being triggered by Vagal Nerve, as I always had indigestion prior to it triggering into Tachycardia.

So far, have been okay, and hope to be okay from now on. Was also told it could be brought on by becoming dehydrated, which I've read about and discoverd that people over age 60 do not have the same thirst messages as when younger, so dehydration can bring on episodes, plus mental fogginess, and other problems. The last message was: If you have a loved one 60 or so, offer them a glass of water every 1/2 hours so they do not become dehydrated.

Crash88 in reply to Emgee

fuck, how does it feel going into more than 200 beats per minute? doesn’t this put u in cardiac arrest?

Emgee in reply to Crash88

The strange thing is: I used to feel like I should be running to keep up with my heartbeats. I remember seeing my blouse vibrating from the heartbeats, but I never felt faint or dizzy or out of breath. I just kept calm and was taken by car to the hospital. The people who took me were more anxious than I was. When it suddenly stopped, I wondered if i'd drop down or what. But it happened off and on for over 25 years and I had to have the episodes shortened by taking Atenolol and different drug over the years.

I thought with the ablation, it would be ended forever, but NO, almost 3 years to the day, I went into A-Fib again, but controlled it with sips of cold water and controlled breathing (deep breaths) as my sister had encouraged me to try that she had read about. I wrote my experiences with tachycardia so others would know "you can live with it" and for the 19 yr old who posted would know there is hope. My cariologist says not to run off to ER, but give it time to correct itself.

Crash88 in reply to Emgee

incredible so u have had multiple episodes of being into more than 200 beats per min? and never cardiac arrest or heart attack? that’s pretty good it means ur heart is very healthy! i wonder what would happen if u were in 200 beats and u started to walk fast or run.. would u go higher or would u maintain? and yeah i agree it feels like ur dying but if ur younger and ur heart is healthy u should go up 170-190 no problem as long as u don’t stay there for an hour u know.. as for the water, also cold water on ur head helps a lot when i used to box and kickbox that’s how they would lower my heart rate!

Emgee in reply to Crash88

all the methods suggests by my cardio doc. did not work, finally carotid massage worked after a doctor in ER tried that, and it was used multiple times to put me back into NSR. but some doctors would give me a sore or it felt like a bruised neck they pressed so hard.

You may also like...