Most people are curious about how neck and back tension builds up. In a nutshell, it is caused by stress. Stress comes in many shapes, sizes, types and names. You can probably think of some names already! Stress to the mind and body comes in three basic forms: emotional, chemical and physical.
Stress has been defined as any demand you must contend with. Hans Selye, the “father” of modern stress theory described the physical effects of too much bad stress in terms of sickness and disease. He called it “general adaptation syndrome.” Simply put, with too many demands or changes in your life and no chance to rebalance, you get sick.
What Causes Neck Pain From Stress?
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼There is no single cause for Neck Pain from stress. This type of neck pain is not an inherited trait that runs in families. In some people, tightened muscles in the back of the neck and scalp cause stress pain. This stress may be caused by:
- Inadequate rest
- Poor posture
- Emotional or mental stress, including depression
In others, tightened muscles are not part of stress pain in neck, and the cause is unknown.
Neck Pains from stess are usually triggered by some type of environmental or internal stress. The most common sources of stress include family, social relationships, friends, work, and school. Examples of stressors include:
- Having problems at home/difficult family life
- Having a new child
- Having no close friends
- Returning to school or training; preparing for tests or exams
- Going on a vacation
- Starting a new job
- Losing a job
- Being overweight
- Deadlines at work
- Competing in sports or other activities
- Being a perfectionist
- Not getting enough sleep
- Being over-extended (involved in too many activities/organisations)
Episodic stress resulting in neck pains are usually triggered by an isolated stressful situation or a build-up of stress. Daily stress can lead to chronic stress pains.
Dangers of Drugs for Neck Pain From Stress Treatment
Millions of Australians depend on anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain, but the drugs are among the most dangerous on the market. Aside from significantly increasing your heart risks (such as a two to fourfold increase in the risk of heart attacks, stroke or cardiovascular death), NSAIDs are linked to serious gastrointestinal risks like bleeding of the digestive tract, increased blood pressure and kidney problems. Remember, this applies not only to prescription medications like Celebrex but also to over-the-counter drugs like aspirin, Advil and Motrin.
It’s very difficult to find a drug-based method of pain relief that is not saddled with severe side effects. The FDA has even recently limited the amount of acetaminophen allowed in prescription products and added a boxed warning due to liver toxicity concerns. Acetaminophen is actually the leading cause of acute liver failure in the United States.
As for the opioid painkillers like OxyContin, they are among the most commonly abused prescription drugs and are a leading contributor to the rising rates of fatal prescription drug overdoses. Many become addicted after using them to treat conditions like back or neck pain.
But no matter what type of painkiller you choose, the bottom line to remember is that they do not come without risks! Unfortunately, if you visit your conventional doctor with severe neck pain, a long-term treatment plan will typically include a drug-combination approach, using anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-seizure medications, muscle relaxants and possibly other types of pain medication as well. In other words, the answer for pain relief is drugs, drugs and more drugs — each one raising your risk of suffering potentially lethal side effects.
Powerful drugs can numb your nervous system so the pain doesn’t register. While these approaches may be convenient, they can cause adverse effects and kidney or liver damage. Worse, they don’t correct the underlying cause of the headache.
How to Relieve Neck Pain from Stress Naturally:
- Drink 8 8 oz. (0.23 L) glasses of water each day. Water transports nutrients to cells in your muscles. If you are dehydrated, the muscles don’t receive electrolytes and they start to cramp, creating tension in the neck.
- Roll your shoulders back 3 times and roll your shoulders forward 3 times. Trapezius muscles that run from the base of the skull to the shoulders tense as the neck cramps, raising the shoulders closer to the ears.
- Break up work periods. Only work for 30 minutes at a time before getting up and walking around. Set a timer for yourself to be sure you don’t sit for longer.
- Exercise before or after work or at lunch time for at least 30 minutes. Although exercising may seem counter intuitive to relaxing muscles, regular 30 minute periods of cardio exercise release tension throughout the body.
- Place your hands on your head with your thumbs at the indentations at the base of your skull.
- Move your thumbs in small circles starting at the center and working across the bottom of the skull out toward your ears. Breathe deeply and take your time, massaging for at least 1 minute. Repeat 1 to 2 more times. This is called the “Window of Heaven” points in acupressure.
- Use a microwaveable neck wrap 2 to 3 times per day for 20 minutes until the tension releases. Use it 1 time per day to reduce general neck tension.
- ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼Chiropractic Care : Chiropractic works by opening stuck joints, returning movement to the spine, and removing any nerve impingement that might be happening. If a disc herniation is involved, chiropractic is a natural way to provide a long-term solution. Chiropractic gets to the source of the problem, not just addressing the symptoms but finding the area of dysfunction and returning it normal physiology—in other words, making the area work the way it’s supposed to. When function returns, pain goes away. But mind you, getting rid of pain is not the only name of the game as far as chiropractic is concerned; return to function is the real goal, because when function returns, pain goes away on its own. Pain is nothing more than a warning signal telling you when something is wrong. Shutting off the alarm instead of investigating what is causing the alarm to go off only sets you up for a recurring problem. Once found, the solution can then be applied.