Neck pain is a common problem that can occur in a wide range of age groups. Sometimes these issues can be positional; maybe from sitting at a desk all day, maybe from being on your phone, or how you slept the night before. But did you know that stress can also contribute to neck pain?
Stress is an every day part of life and when we are stressed our body reacts in a way that prepares us for danger in case we need to run or fight, it does this by releasing hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. These reactions also include an increase in heart rate, respiratory rate, sharpening our senses and, muscle tension in the neck, shoulders, and jaw. Not all stress is bad but when this happens frequently our body may not have the chance to release the tension in our necks and upper back, which can cause neck pain. Stress can also affect how you feel pain. If you are more stressed your pain levels may be increased which can be discouraging.
Here are some ways to help manage stress:
Deep Breathing- Taking deep breaths is one of the top ways to calm your body. It sends a message to your brain to relax your body and decreases all those reactions that come with stress (increase heart and respiratory rate, high blood pressure etc).
Exercise- Exercising actually reduces the amount of stress hormones in the body and stimulates endorphins and dopamine which increase your mood causing you to feel happier and reduces your perception of pain. Going for a 30-minute walk will not only help release feel good chemicals in your brain but will get your body moving and give your mind time to relax.
Taking time for yourself- This one is important and very individualized it could be anything! Reading a good book, taking a nice hot bath, journaling, catching up and chatting with a friends or getting a facial with Jennifer at PhysioFirst on Chapel Street! As long as it’s something that you can relax, de-stress and enjoy it will fall into this category!
Stretch-Stretching your muscles is a great way to release muscle tension in the neck, shoulders and upper back. If you work at a desk taking breaks to do this through the day is great. It’ll give your mind a mini-break from work and a chance for you to relax your muscles before getting back to work again. Any of our Physiotherapists and Kinesiologists would be happy to create a stretching and exercise program that is best for you.
Get a massage- Massages can be very relaxing but also tailored to you. Both Kat and Kenzie our RMTs over at Chapel Street can provide deep tissue or relaxation massages at a time that works for you and your schedule. This give you time to de-compress, relieve stress while our massage therapist work on your tight muscles and help relieve pain.
Proper Diet- Diet?! Affecting my stress levels that may be contributing to my neck pain?? I know, sounds crazy, but its true. Having a proper diet has positive affects your entire body and your mood. Gab our dietician is a great person to chat with about this, maybe you find meal planning and prepping stressful, she has tools for you to help make the whole process easier.
You may find that when you take measures to decrease stress your have a decrease in neck pain. Neck pain is not always caused by stress but it can also make existing neck pain worse so give some of these tools a try to help manage your stress.
As always feel free to set up an appointment with one (or several) of our team’s skilled professionals to help manage the symptoms and provide education and tools to get you back to living pain free!
Grand Falls 506-473-7064