How Stress Can Aggravate Neck Pain
Weve all experienced it and know how frustrating it is to live under the pressure of balancing your professional and personal life, and how juggling these responsibilities can lead to chronic stress. Believe it or not, these psychosocial stressors can cause neck pain. This happens when tension builds up in the neck, causes the muscles to feel tight or achy and later on affect your joints. Neck pain can spread to the shoulders and be accompanied by headaches, as well, called a tension headache. Stress can also influence how you feel pain, amplifying the underlying problem causing your pain symptoms. The good news is, you can lessen the physical toll stress takes on you and manage your stress-related neck pain.
Research published in the BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders journal found that stressful life experiences are closely related to chronic neck pain. The study examined 448 patients suffering from neck pain and found that patients who had depression and anxiety tended to have the worst neck pain that lasted longer, and they were less likely to be active in their own recovery. Fortunately, there is hope, and you can get neck pain relief from learning stress reduction techniques.
Suboccipital Release With Massage Balls
Targeted muscle: Suboccipitals.
How to do it:
Begin by placing two tennis balls inside a sock.Lie on your back and position the tennis balls just below the base of your skull, move around until you find a tender area.Hold this position for 1 to 2 minutes.
Targeted muscles: Upper cervical extensors and Suboccipital
How to do it:
Begin in either a standing or seated position.Align your chin so that its parallel to the floor.Pull your head backwards.Hold this retracted position for 15 to 20 seconds.Aim for 3 repetitions of this stretch.
Cut Back On The Stimulants Before Bedtime
Try not to smoke cigarettes just before bed. Nicotine is a stimulant that increases your heart rate and blood pressure. The result is even more stress. You might feel that a cigarette calms you, but it doesnt. It can cause stress-related neck pain rather than relieve it. Drinking tea or coffee before bed can also lead to stress-related neck pain. The caffeine in tea and coffee can lead to tension in your nervous system leading to stress-related neck pain!
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How To Get Rid Of Stiff Neck In Less Than 90 Seconds
Living with Neck Pain in Santa Maria is terrible! We know, because we see hundreds of patients here on the central coast every month with just this issue!
Working on computers and staring down at our smartphones for hours each day has left over 20% of us experiencing neck pain over the past few months. A stiff neck is usually the result of postural issues that have tired the neck muscles over time. Weakened, or unbalanced, muscle strength can place additional stress on your spinal joints and lead to changes in how you move, extra pressure on your discs, and pain.
Why it Matters:
If you are looking down at your digital devices all day every day, the stress can add up and result in your neck not moving correctly. At this point, it’s only a matter of time before you wake up with a stiff neck or turn your head during the day and are greeted by an intense muscle discomfort or pain.
Treating Neck And Shoulder Pain
Treatment of neck and shoulder pain depends on the underlying cause.
Heart attack, stroke, and other serious conditions often include emergency treatment. For most other situations, home remedies, physical therapy, and massage will bring improvement.
Some of the more serious situations that may require surgical treatment include:
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Stretch Your Neck Muscles
Neck pain can take the form of acute sharp pain to an annoying low level continual dull ache that can drive you mad by bedtime. There are stretching exercises you can try in order to strengthen your neck and reduce the pain. Before trying thee you should first consult a medical professional, physician or chiropractor. They may be able to help you, particularly with a recommended form of exercise. Muscle pain may or may not be reduced by strengthening your neck muscles.
To do this, moving your head only, pull it back as far as you can hold for 5 seconds then return to the straight position. Then bend your head forwards as far as you can, again keeping the rest of your body straight and hold for 5 seconds. Do the same by bending your neck to your right side and left side as far as you can with each, holding each for 5 seconds.
Next, rotate your head with your neck straight. Do to the right as far as you can and hold, then to the left and hold each hold for 5 seconds. If your neck feels particularly stiff, then stop after the six exercises . Repeat after a few hours or even the next day. After a while, you will find it easier and your neck loosens up. You can then hold your position for 10 seconds, not 5, and carry out multiple repetitions.
Repetitive Strain Injury Of The Shoulder
Repetitive strain injury of the shoulder is caused by consistent repetitive use.
Top Symptoms: shoulder pain from overuse, shoulder weakness, shoulder numbness
Symptoms that always occur with repetitive strain injury of the shoulder : shoulder pain from overuse
Symptoms that never occur with repetitive strain injury of the shoulder : severe shoulder pain, shoulder injury
Home / Blog / Health & Wellness Tips / How to Relieve Shoulder and Neck Pain Without Medication
Are you feeling pain in your shoulders and neck? Sitting at a desk, driving all day, and even stress contribute to muscle pain in these areas. Wondering how to relieve shoulder and neck pain but dont want to take medicine? Weve made a list of ways on how to relieve shoulder and neck pain:
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How Does Stress And Anxiety Cause Tension In Your Neck And Shoulders
When you experience a stressful event or a bout of anxiety, your muscles contract, sometimes forcefully. This is an automatic or reflex reaction. Its known as a stress response or fight or flight response.
Its your bodys way of gearing up to face a perceived physical threat that youll need to fight off or run away from. Along with muscle tension, you may also notice other physical symptoms when youre stressed or anxious, such as:
- a fast heart rate
- cold skin
Although your bodys stress response is designed to help you deal with physical threats, your body responds in the same way when the threat isnt physical. Your muscles may tighten up when youre stuck in traffic, dealing with pressure at work, or watching the news.
According to the American Psychological Association , your muscles and other organs may only relax again once the perceived threat has passed.
If stress is ongoing meaning the stressful situation doesnt seem to have a clear end your body may stay in a heightened state of readiness to face a threat. As a result, your muscles may stay tense and tight for much longer than they need to.
According to the APA, ongoing muscle tension in your neck and shoulders can lead to more serious issues like back and shoulder pain, body aches, and migraine and tension headaches.
Ways To Relieve Your Shoulder Blade Pain
If youre suffering from pain in your shoulder blades, there are effective treatment methods you can try at home.
Known as the scapulae, the shoulder blades are the triangular bones connected to your collarbone. Attached to each shoulder blade are three muscle groups: the rhomboids and the middle and lower trapezius muscles. These muscles enable your shoulders to rotate freely during workouts or simple everyday tasks.
However, exposing this area to stress can lead to cramps, sprains, or strains. For example, shoulder blade pain can result from a muscular injury, strain after weightlifting, poor posture, or whiplash following a car accident. Conditions like a torn rotator cuff, arthritis, or disc herniation may also be the cause of discomfort.
Whatever the source of your shoulder blade pain, there are simple steps you can take to find relief.
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Mind How You Sit Stand Or Walk
Studies explain that posture can affect other things besides your self-esteem. For example, it plays a pivotal role in developing flexibility, balance, and strength. Moreover, it can reduce postural stress on your spinal column and keep the neck bones and the skull aligned correctly. So, this year, we strongly recommend checking your posture and identifying key points to improve.
You might also find it helpful to avoid practices that can negatively affect your posture, such as putting your phone in between your neck and ear and leaning too much on your work desk.
What Causes The Neck To Hurt When Youre Stressed Or Anxious
Pain is typically caused by an automatic reaction in the musculoskeletal and nervous systems after the body experiences trauma. However, stress-related pains in the neck are usually the result of emotionally-driven anxiety, which affects the primary muscles and nerves running through the spine, shoulders, and neck.
Becoming so stressed out or anxious that you begin to tense up could cause harm to your body, even if only temporarily. Meanwhile, long-term tension could create a snowball effect that might lead to chronic neck or back pain. Because of the potentially damaging effects that stress can have on the body, its reasonable to consider neck pain remedies before the situation gets out of hand.
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If Possible Get A Cervical Pillow Especially Made For Neck Support
How to get rid of a crick in your neck overnight. Sometimes neck pain can be brought on as dehydration in disguise. Neck pain rarely starts overnight. Overnight, this kink builds overnight and thus adds more pressure in the morning and more pain.
How to get rid of neck pain from sleeping on your neck wrong. Poor posture can put stress on the neck and lead to muscle knots in the neck. Everyday life isn’t kind to the neck.
The use of ginger may be your best attempt for the quickest pain relief. You may be all too familiar with that crick you get when you cradle the phone between your shoulder and ear, or the strain you feel after working at your computer. Take care when you sleep.
How do you get rid of a crick in your neck fast? This crick in your neck makes turning your head difficult. Rest the neck muscles as much as possible while the crick in the neck is most intense and pain is greatest.
Everyday life isnt kind to the neck. The term neck crick is often used interchangeably with neck pain or a stiff neck. Exercises to help with pain.
Neck pain rarely starts overnight. In just a few minutes, a heating pad can help stimulate the blood flow to the neck. Use a feather or memory foam pillow that will adapt to the natural alignment of your neck and head.
Waking up with neck pain could be a sign that your pillow or sleeping position doesn’t fully support your neck. Everyday life isnt kind to the neck. It usually evolves over time.
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Anxiety Increases Neck Pain Risk
Several factors can increase your likelihood of neck pain. If your neck pain is severe or impeding your way of life, it is advised that you visit your primary care provider. Other issues such as whiplash, a herniated disk, arthritis, etc. can all present as neck pain but require medical intervention. As always, if your pain is sudden and extreme, seek medical treatment as soon as possible to decrease the chance of further damage.
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Your Pillow May Be Causing Your Neck Pain
While all of the above is true, we have not yet mentioned another common cause of neck pain. This is not stress related, but its solution can be relatively simple in many cases. The way you sleep may be the cause. You may be sleeping on the wrong pillow or the wrong mattress, and a change of either may help reduce or even eliminate your neck pain.
Frequently Asked Questions On How To Get Rid Of Neck Pain
Here are some of the questions we have been asked regarding how to get rid of neck pain caused by stress and anxiety. We must stress that you should refer to a physician or chiropractor if you have neck pain for whatever reason. The information on this website is for guidance only and is not medically qualified.
1. How do I know that my neck pain is caused by stress or anxiety?
There are many causes of neck pain other than just stress and anxiety. If you have had a recent injury, then our advice will not apply. However, if you have things on your mind, or have worries about anything, then that can tense up your neck muscles. If your neck muscles are tensed up for too long, particularly in bed, then you can wake up with moderate to severe neck pain.
2. Can acupuncture be used to relieve neck pain caused by stress or anxiety? I know it can be used to help reduce tension in the neck but is it effective?
A 2008 study on the effect of acupuncture on TNS showed that acupuncture may facilitate and/or enhance physiotherapy performance in musculoskeletal rehabilitation for tension neck syndrome. While more research may be needed, it looks possible that you could use acupuncture to help cure your condition.
3. Can massage help relieve the neck pain I feel every morning? 4. What are the best exercises to relieve neck pain? 5. Do you recommend any particular pillow for neck pain? I have tried a few but none helped.
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Visit A Physical Therapist
If your pain and stiffness persist for more than a day or two, or if it refuses to respond to your treatment choices, it is time to seek professional help.
Neck stiffness can be a symptom of bigger issues such as a serious injury.
Here at PRO~PT, we know all about muscle stiffness and how to help alleviate it. Our team of physical therapists is here to help you find relief from the pain and stiffness. With well over a dozen locations all over the Central Valley area, we are close and convenient.
We work with our patients to help them achieve the most pain-free, high-quality lifestyle possible.
How To Get Rid Of Neck Pain Caused By Stress And Anxiety
There are some fairly straightforward ways to get rid of neck pain caused by stress or anxiety. The causes of physical pain are usually obvious, such as a whiplash injury or some other sudden movement that can strain your neck muscles. However, it is not only physical issues that can lead to neck pain but also emotional ones. Stress and anxiety are common factors involved in headaches, but they can also lead to stress-related neck pain.
Before we start: It should be noted that all information and guidance offered here should not be regarded as a substitute for the advice provided by professional doctors or chiropractors. If you have a medical condition we advise you to consult a qualified medical practitioner. The advice we provide here is for information and guidance only.
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Actively Work To Relax Your Body
No doubt you are well aware of the effects of stress on your mind.
But did you know that stress can manifest physically in your body?
Its true and stress could be the cause of some of your neck pain and stiffness. When our minds are stressed, our bodies react.
It is important to take daily time-outs to relax, rejuvenate, and allow our minds and bodies to release stress and tension.
Some great stress-relieving activities are
- Going for a walk
- Doing some deep breathing exercises
- Taking a nice, hot bath
How To Control Neck Pain From Anxiety
Generally, when anxiety causes neck pain through muscle tension, the best thing to do is to control the muscle tension first and anxiety second. Most anxiety symptoms require you to respond to the anxiety directly in order for the symptoms to go away, but muscle tension has a tendency to linger. This means that additional treatments might be needed. Consider the following:
- Massage – Massage is one of the best ways to reduce neck pain. It can either be a self-massage or one performed by someone else. Either decision you make, massaging out your tense muscles can genuinely assist in reducing muscle discomfort in your body. This will also help in relieving some of the stress that caused the muscle tension to begin with.
- Hot Bath/Shower – The application of heat is very soothing to tense muscles. A hot bath is ideal however, a hot shower can still be beneficial if you stand in there long enough to have your muscles warm up. Heat forces muscles to relax, making it harder to hold tension. For some, hot water and/or steam can be soothing for anxiety.
- Exercise – If it is not too painful, exercise can improve muscle tension symptoms. Jogging and stretching are especially helpful. When you regularly workout your muscles, it will become harder for them to tense up during times of stress.
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