Are you feeling stressed? If so, do you literally have a “pain in the neck”? If you do, your neck pain will come as no surprise because stress and neck pain go hand in hand. Neck pain can be caused by a variety of factors from poor posture to unhealthy sleeping habits. However, most neck pain is typically caused by stress. This type of neck pain can also lead to tension headaches, pain, and fatigue.
When your body is under physical and emotional stress, it causes your muscles to tense up. When this happens to your neck muscles, it constricts the blood flow to your neck and scalp which can cause dizziness, headaches and numbing pain. Stress is literally a pain in the neck. There are ways that you can lower your stress level, but for most of us, stress is just a part of daily life. You may not be able to rid yourself of stress completely, but you can definitely try the following five ways to get rid of neck pain caused by stress.
1. Sleeping Habits
Poor sleeping posture and a bad bedtime routine, or no routine at all, will add extra tension and stress to your neck and back. Make sure that you are giving your body the rest it needs. Your body goes through 5 unique sleep cycles that last about 90 minutes each. On average, you need at least 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Interrupted sleep cycles will cause stress and irritability and can lower your cognitive ability; it can seem as if you didn’t sleep at all. Getting into a regular bedtime routine and winding down before bed can help reduce stress and allow you to get a good night’s sleep.
Having a good sleeping posture is equally important. Studies show that the majority of people sleep on their left or right side. While there are a few benefits of sleeping on either side, the risks outnumber the rewards. Only 7% of people choose the worst sleep position; on their stomach. Sleeping on your stomach causes neck and lower back strain. It also puts additional pressure on your ribcage and diaphragm. The best sleeping position is on your back. This helps your body remain in a natural alignment through the night and reduces the strain on your neck and back.
2. Daily Stretching
Stretching allows tension to be released from your muscles. If you keep your muscles relaxed, it helps reduce stress and the pain that comes with it. Work can also be a stress trigger. You may feel stressed because you’re close to a deadline or you’ve got a pile of paperwork to tackle. Whatever the reason, t try to sit back, relax, and take a few minutes to stretch. Maybe you’re at home and want to unwind before bed; you can relax and do some stretching to release the tension of the day.
You don’t have to sign up for yoga classes to do these simple stretches, and they can be done anytime, anywhere. Here are just a few suggestions:
- Neck Roll - Bring your chin down to your chest and roll your head gently from left to right. Repeat by moving your head from right to left.
- Neck Stretch - Look down and clasp your hands together on the back of your head. Apply light pressure and hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
- Side to Side - Face to one side and apply pressure to your jaw to achieve maximum stretching. Repeat on the opposite side.
3. Get a Massage
Who doesn’t love a massage? This is one of the best ways to relieve tension and stress in your neck, spine and overall body. You can ask your masseuse to focus on certain areas like your neck and shoulders. This is not a permanent fix, but it definitely will melt away some of the stress and tension you have in your body.
4. Over the Counter Relief
Most over the counter medicines that contain an anti-inflammatory will help with sore neck muscles. There are also many effective topical creams such as Tiger Balm, Bengay, and IcyHot. You can also try using a heating pad to relax your muscles and release tension. You can also use a cold compress to reduce any swelling associated with sore muscles.
Exercising has many benefits for your overall health. It is a great way to get rid of tension and stress. Working on your muscle tone and naturally stretching the body will allow endorphins to be released during your workout. Those endorphins dull your pain receptors and give your body a sense of well-being. Lowering your stress and being fit will help tremendously to reduce the tension in your neck and back.
Don’t let stress be a pain in the neck! Try these simple solutions today and never have neck pain again.