Can Stress Really Cause Neck Pain?

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can stress cause neck pain

Stressed Out? Discover the Startling Connection to Neck Pain

It’s normal to feel neck soreness or tension after a stressful day. But can prolonged stress actually trigger chronic neck pain? 

At Kaly, we know the mind-body connection is very real. Mental strain and anxiety produce physiological responses that can exacerbate neck discomfort in multiple ways. 

Read on to understand how stress impacts your neck and what you can do to relieve the pain.

How Stress Affects the Body

When we’re stressed, anxious or overwhelmed, the body goes into fight-or-flight mode, releasing hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. This fires up the nervous system and causes effects like:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Tense muscles
  • Shallow breathing
  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach

Over time, the physical strain of chronic stress takes a toll and can manifest as body aches and pain.

Links Between Stress and Neck Pain

In several key ways, ongoing stress contributes to developing neck pain and stiffness:

  • Muscle tension – Stress makes muscles like the neck and shoulders tense up and remain contracted. This strains the delicate tissues.
  • Changes in posture – Stress can cause slumped posture and strained neck positioning like jutting the head forward.
  • Increased inflammation – Stress hormones increase inflammatory chemicals that sensitize nerve cells and worsen pain perception.
  • Decreased blood flow – Stress restricts blood vessels, reducing circulation to the muscles supporting the neck.
  • Disrupted sleep – Tossing and turning from stress impedes restorative deep sleep needed for tissue repair.

Learning to manage stress is crucial for preventing chronic neck discomfort. At Kaly, we offer holistic solutions to address the mind-body factors driving pain.

Warning Signs Your Neck Pain is Stress-Related

Suspect a link between stress and your neck pain if:

  • The pain worsens when you’re anxious or overwhelmed
  • It’s accompanied by tension headaches
  • You notice clenched jaws or grinding teeth
  • It causes muscle spasms between the shoulders
  • Applying heat and massage provides relief

Discuss your symptoms with your doctor to determine whether stress is contributing to your discomfort.

Relieving Neck Pain Caused by Stress

To reduce neck pain exacerbated by stress and anxiety, try:

  • Stretching – Gentle neck and shoulder stretches release muscle tension. Our physical therapists provide personalized routines.
  • Massage – Kneading tight neck muscles improves circulation and relieves knotted tissues.
  • Warm baths – Soaking in warm water before bed promotes relaxation.
  • Meditation – Mindfulness practices calm the body’s stress response.
  • Exercise – Working out helps release endorphins that counteract anxiety.
  • OTC pain relievers – Medications like acetaminophen or NSAIDs can temporarily alleviate pain.
  • Adjusting sleep position – Use a cervical pillow to support the neck if pain worsens at night.

Along with self-care, seeing a therapist for stress management training and biofeedback can help quiet the nervous system. At Kaly, we take a whole-person approach to identify the multiple factors driving your neck pain.

Getting Professional Treatment for Chronic Neck Pain

If simple relaxation techniques don’t resolve your neck pain, visiting a doctor is wise. A physician can assess if your symptoms stem from:

  • Herniated or bulging discs
  • Nerve impingement
  • Arthritis
  • Bone spurs

Diagnostic tests like x-rays or MRI scans may be warranted to pinpoint any underlying spinal issues needing treatment. Acupuncture, spinal adjustments, medication, physical therapy and exercise programs can then be tailored to your specific needs for lasting relief. Kaly connects patients with the top local specialists to address neck pain at its source.

Why Choose Kaly for Neck Pain Support

Kaly makes it easy to get holistic neck pain treatment through benefits like:

  • Access to highly-rated chiropractors, massage therapists, psychologists and other providers all in one place
  • Telehealth services for online diagnosis and stress management
  • Streamlined appointment booking in as little as 24 hours
  • Secure messaging with your healthcare team

Don’t let neck pain and stress interfere with your well-being. At Kaly, we develop customized treatment plans to resolve the physical and emotional factors triggering your discomfort. Contact us today to start feeling better!

Frequently Asked Questions on Can Stress Cause Neck Pain?

Can anxiety cause neck pain?

Yes, anxiety produces muscle tension, poor posture, and inflammation that can result in neck soreness and stiffness. Managing stress helps reduce pain.

Why does stress cause neck pain?

Stress hormones like cortisol tense up muscles and restrict blood flow to the neck area. This strains the delicate tissues leading to pain.

Does tension cause neck pain?

Chronic muscle tension in the neck, jaws and shoulders from high stress absolutely can lead to localized pain and headaches. Relaxation techniques help release tight muscles.

Can neck pain be caused by emotional stress?

Yes, emotional and psychological stress produces physiological effects like muscle tension that can irritate nerves and exacerbate neck discomfort.

Can panic attacks cause neck pain?

During acute panic or anxiety attacks, rapid breathing and muscle contractions can abruptly tighten neck muscles leading to painful spasms and stiffness.

At Kaly, we help patients get to the root of their neck pain for lasting relief. Contact us to learn stress management strategies and find experienced doctors in your area today!