A Pain In The Neck: How Stress Affects Your Pain Level, And What You Can Do About It

Even if you choose healthy foods and try hard to stay safe when you exercise, your aches and pains could actually be coming from a stressful lifestyle. Although stress is inevitable for humans, too much stress in your mind can actually significantly decrease your physical health. One common problem caused by stress is neck and back pain. This article will help you understand and address the connection. 

How does emotional and physical stress cause neck and back pain?

Do you notice yourself rubbing your neck or wishing for a massage, even if you have great posture? The reason why stress actually cause pain in the neck and back is because stress causes large muscles groups, like those in your shoulders and back, to tense up. This tension comes as a response to stress hormones, like cortisol, that your body creates when your brain tells you that you need to go into "fight or flight" mode. Over time, if your stress levels don't go down, these muscles can actually pinch nerves in the neck, or stay locked in that position, reducing range of motion and making it harder and more painful to turn your head from side to side.

If you are in increased pain, your stress levels continue to go up, causing even more muscle tension. If you don't find a way to break the cycle of stress, you'll find yourself feeling worse and worse as time progresses. 

Also, people who are chronically stressed are more likely to be overweight, due to emotional eating or a busy lifestyle that prevents healthful habits, like home cooked meals or working out. Neck pain is more common among individuals who have added weight, as it puts extra pressure on the spine. 

What can be done to help alleviate pain caused by stress?

If you have a naturally stressful lifestyle, you can avoid back and neck pain by taking some time daily to knead the tension out of the muscles with a basic massage from a partner or friend and by stretching before you go to sleep. As you are working or moving from place to place, consciously take time to move your neck. Turn your head from side to side and stretch the muscles so that your neck is less likely to stay in a certain position for too long.

You should actively discover ways to reduce your stress. It's important to talk to your doctor about pain that you experience, because some chronic stress can cause even more serious problems, like stomach ulcers and insomnia. If you cannot reduce stress on your own, he may need to prescribe anti-anxiety medication and mild painkillers in order to get your body back on track. He will also suggest some of the following:

  1. Reducing stress triggers. Some people lead very busy lifestyles or have intense emotional strain due to poor family situations or a bad dynamic at work. Although you may feel like you need to tough it out, if your health is failing, it is time to act. Whenever possible, reduce your workload by removing extracurricular activities, and try limiting contact with the people who are making your life more difficult for you. 
  2. Employing relaxation techniques. Your doctor will strongly recommend a workout routine that includes deep stretches and mild cardiovascular activity. Exercises that improve breathing and blood flow will help to loosen tense muscles, and give you a higher threshold for stress when you are at rest. Consider joining a tai chi, yoga, or pilates class in order to learn more about relaxation and muscle control. 

If you are so stressed that your body is starting to pay the price, it's time to look for solutions. Help reduce neck and back pain by avoiding stressful situations and by taking care of tense, overworked muscles. 

Visit http://www.swfna.com to learn more about remedying your pain. 

About Me

Tips for people who think They Have "Bad Health Luck"

While my parents took care to keep my home sanitary, feel my family nutritious meals, and encourage us all to get some healthy exercise outdoors, I always felt like I had "bad health luck." During my childhood, it felt like I was always coming down with one illness after another, and while thankfully, there were great treatments for most of them, I was envious of other children who seemed to never get sick. During my teenage years, my health improved, but as an adult, it seems like my "bad health luck" has returned. However, I try to find a "silver lining" in everything and, for me, that was the inspiration to learn a lot about diseases, disorders, and other health problems. To help others suffering from health problems, I decided to share the health knowledge I have accumulated over the years on a blog!