Does Stress Cause Neck Pain?


Yes, coping with any stress in life can often result in neck pain. Stress can appear as a physical injury. It would include trauma and accidents sustained while playing in a sporting event. Stress and pressure can also be due to emotional distress that you may be experiencing anytime. Let’s dig deeper and investigate how stress can affect your neck. Also, let’s find out if there are any ways you can relieve this kind of pain. 


Common Signs of Stress

  • Panic attacks
  • Trembling hands or lips
  • Sweating and sweaty hands and feet
  • Grinding teeth
  • Nightmares
  • Fatigue
  • Neck pain, back pain, muscle spasms
  • Dizziness
  • Stuttering or stammering
  • Frequent headaches
  • Frequent jaw pain and clenching
  • Trouble swallowing (dry mouth)
  • Frequent sickness – infections and colds
  • Rashes and itching
  • Allergy attacks
  • Nausea, stomach pain
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Frequently sighing or difficulty breathing
  • Heart racing, chest pain
  • Frequent urination
  • Anxiety, worry, guilt, or nervousness in excess
  • Mood swings
  • Loss of or increased appetite
  • Problems with concentration
  • Forgetfulness
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Crying spells
  • Feeling worthless 
  • Nervous habits, fidgeting
  • Overreactions to mild annoyances
  • Social withdrawal
  • Obsessive-compulsive behavior
  • Reduced productivity at work
  • Talking fast or mumbling
  • Increased smoking or alcohol use
  • Being suspicious of others
  • Impulse buying or gambling

How Can Stress Affect Your Body

In addition to neck pain, stress can bring about several physical and emotional disorders, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Insomnia
  • Heart attacks
  • Stroke
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Increased vulnerability to infections
  • Immune system malfunctions
  • Skin disorders: atopic dermatitis, hives, rashes
  • Gastrointestinal disorders: GERD, IBS, peptic ulcers, ulcerative colitis
  • Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders
  • Viral illnesses (common cold to herpes to AIDS and some cancers)
  • Multiple sclerosis


So, now the question is: How will this affect the body's different areas, including the neck?


How Our Body Systems Would React To Stress

  • The Nervous System

Whether your stress is psychological or physical, the body starts to preserve its energy resources to fight off any threat. It is known as the fight or flight response. It would begin to cause the adrenal glands to release cortisol as well as adrenaline. These hormones encourage the heart to beat faster, change the digestive process, boost our glucose levels in the blood, and increase blood pressure. Once the body perceives that the crisis is over, these functions would stop, and the body returns to normal.

  • Cardiovascular System

Mild or acute stress – such as getting stuck in rush hour traffic – will increase the heart rate and make the heart contract even harder. The blood vessels responsible for directing blood to the heart's larger muscles and the body will become dilated. It increases the amount of blood that is getting pumped to these body parts. As a result, this can lead to inflammation and a possible heart attack.

  • The Musculoskeletal System

When a person is under stress, their muscles will react by tensing up. It can lead to tension headaches, migraines, neck pain, and other muscle problems. 

  • Respiratory System

Also, stress can make you breathe harder and faster, which may lead to hyperventilating. It would also bring about a panic attack.

  • Reproductive System

In women – stress can cause irregular, absent, or more painful menstrual periods. Sexual desire may become reduced. 

In men – extra cortisol is produced by stress. When this happens, it can affect the reproductive system by impairing testosterone and sperm production. It can also cause impotence.

  • Gastrointestinal System

    • Esophagus: Stress can encourage you to eat much more or much less food than average. Also, you may become tempted to smoke or drink more alcohol. It can lead to acid reflux or heartburn.
    • Bowels: Digestion can become affected, and the proper nutrients are not absorbed properly in your body. How quickly your food moves through the body will also become impacted. As a result, you may have either diarrhea or constipation.
    • Stomach: You may experience nausea or even pain. Sometimes you may vomit if it is due to severe stress.
  • Endocrine System

    • Liver: When epinephrine and cortisol are released, the liver automatically produces more glucose – a type of blood sugar that boosts your energy for fight or flight encounters during an emergency. 
    • Adrenal glands: The brain would send signals to the hypothalamus and order to create the adrenal medulla, cortisol, and epinephrine – the stress hormones.

Imagine stress can do all these things to different systems in our body? It shows just how devastating stress can be on the entire body. It would then become easier to understand how neck pain can be related to stress daily. What is the best thing you can do against stress and your neck pain?


Finding Lasting Relief for Neck Pain Naturally

Regular exercise is one of those things that can keep stress and neck pain at bay. How so? Exercise can trigger chemicals to be produced by the body to counteract the effects of stress. Getting enough sleep is also another crucial thing to keep in mind. We recommend getting up to eight hours of sleep. Therefore, it is also essential to know how to manage your time efficiently. Thus, you can start prioritizing items on your daily to-do list to keep your stress levels as low as possible. 

Finally, to take care of your neck correctly, go to the professionals – upper cervical chiropractors. They keep the top bones of the upper cervical spine aligned. They can precisely and gently correct misalignments without causing any pain. 

They can examine your spine and check if your neck pain is coming from a neck misalignment due to an injury, trauma, or accident. If this is the case, they only use a very gentle and precise method that encourages the upper cervical spine's bones to move correctly back into their rightful place. As a result, the body's healing properties will begin to repair any damage inflicted by the misalignment. Finally, this can help ease your neck muscles and significantly decrease or even remove neck pain. Numerous people with neck pain report this to be true. They are also very delighted with the outcome in only a few visits to an upper cervical chiropractor.

Find An Upper Cervical Doctor in Your Areato schedule a consultation today.

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The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.