It is common for people to experience neck and shoulder pain, particularly if they are experiencing high-stress levels. This can cause muscle tension, headaches, and even nerve pains.
Let’s examine how Stress can cause neck or shoulder pain. What symptoms are there? And what you can do for some much-needed relief.
What Causes Neck and Shoulder Pain from Stress?
It can be helpful to think about “the stress response” to understand the relationship between stress and neck and shoulder pain.
1. The Stress Response Causes Physical Symptoms
Our neurological and hormonal systems activate when we are experiencing Stress in our lives. This could be work, relationships, or Stress about the world. The release of hormones such as adrenaline or cortisol can cause physical symptoms.
2. Potential physical symptoms
Although everyone experiences stress differently, Stress can affect almost every bodily system. The stress response can lead to:
- Rapid heartbeat
- An increase in blood pressure
- Tense, difficult breathing
- Gastrointestinal distress
What causes neck and shoulder pain?
The muscular system is also affected by Stress, which causes muscles to contract and tighten. Stress can cause muscle tightening in the neck and shoulders. Your stress levels will increase, and you’ll experience more tension in your neck and shoulders the longer you stay in high-stress situations.
Symptoms of the Neck and Shoulder Pain
Uncomfortable and disruptive symptoms can result from stress in the neck or shoulder. These symptoms can be experienced in a variety of ways.
- Achy, tight feeling in neck and shoulders
- Stiff neck
- Feelings of discomfort when your neck and shoulders touch or when you turn the head
- Feeling tight in your neck and shoulders
- Back pain and jaw clenching are also options.
Headache symptoms can also be caused by tension in the neck or shoulders. Tension headaches and migraines are common in people with neck or shoulder stress.
Tips to Reduce Stress in the Shoulder and Neck
Management of stress can be a powerful way to reduce tension and neck pain caused by stress. There are many ways to manage anxiety. Let’s take a look at some.
1. Physical exercise
Any exercise can reduce stress. Regular exercise may result in lower heart rates and more stable moods. Doing any movement you like takes only 30 minutes per day. Yoga is a great way to reduce stress levels.
Many yoga positions can be used to relax your shoulders and neck.
Mindfulness meditation can help you identify stressful thoughts and let them go. This can help reduce stress levels and symptoms such as neck and shoulder pain.
The benefits of meditation for stress relief are supported by research. A 2021 study showed that mindfulness programs positively affected stress relief. Participants in 6-week mindfulness programs reported decreased perceived stress and higher work engagement.
3. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is essential for your concentration and energy levels. You are likely aware of the dangers of increased stress levels, which can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. People may not realize that a lack of sleep can cause stress.
You can reduce stress by simply getting to bed on time.
Therapy can be used to help with severe mental disorders and traumas. It can help you manage everyday stresses.
Many therapy methods that can help you manage stress include making you aware of your thoughts and how they impact your emotions and reactions to stress. Cognitive-behavioral Therapy (CBT) and mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) are some of the most effective therapy types for stress management.
If you need immediate relief
Look for immediate pain relief while you wait for stress levels to drop. Talk to your healthcare provider about medication options for pain relief. To provide relief, you can use cold or hot packs. You can also try gentle neck stretching. For some, it is better to rest the neck and shoulders for a few days and decrease your physical activity.
A Word from Mind Mentor
Stress can cause neck and shoulder pain, which can be very uncomfortable and even debilitating. The good news is that stress-related neck and shoulder pain can be managed with basic techniques like therapy, meditation, and exercise. This is what you have.