Stress. Anxiety. Low moral support. All of these and other psychosocial factors have been linked as potential causes of neck pain.1,2 When tension and stress build in the neck, muscles may feel tight or achy. Neck pain may also spread to the shoulder or be accompanied by a headache. Let’s explore some ways to reduce this type of neck pain.

See Stress-Related Back Pain

Woman Doctor Consultation

If stress-induced neck pain does not subside after a week or two of self-care, see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment. See Treatment for Neck Pain

7 tips to tackle stress-related neck pain

By focusing on ways to treat both the mind and the body, you can help lessen stress and the toll it can take on you. Try these methods to manage stress-related neck pain:

Video still of woman doing the flexion neck stretch
4 Easy Stretches for Neck and Shoulder Pain Video
    1. Neck stretches
      If done regularly, stretching exercises for the neck can loosen muscle tightness and maintain or expand range of motion for the neck. Try these 2 stretches to get started.

See Neck Stretches

    1. Therapy or support group
      Cognitive behavioral therapy has proven benefits for helping to develop healthy thought patterns, but even a support group or online forum where you can share your concerns and receive support can help you manage day-to-day stressors.

      Visit our active Forums to find online support.

    2. Meditation
      Practicing meditation is a good way to calm your thoughts and anxieties. Look for a guided meditation video on YouTube or attend a class to learn how.

      See Healing Benefits of Yoga

  1. Enlisting help from family and friends
    You don’t have to tackle stress alone; let your family and friends help carry the load. Be clear about ways they can help you—ask if a friend can run an errand for you, or assign your children extra chores around the house during stressful periods.
  2. Massage
    Massage is not only relaxing and stress-relieving overall, but it can specifically ease the tightness of the muscles of the neck and shoulders.

    See Massage Chairs for Pain Relief

  3. Exercise
    Exercise is good for your body and mind. It releases endorphins, a hormone that dulls pain and generates feelings of well-being.

    See Low-Impact Aerobic Exercise

  4. Prioritizing
    You’re not a superhero—let inconsequential things go if they’re taking a toll on your health. Focus on what’s most important and don’t worry if things further down the priority list get delayed or left undone for a while.

If your stress-induced neck pain is not relieved by a week or two of self-care, see your doctor. He or she can offer other treatment option and diagnose possible underlying conditions.

Learn more

Stiff Neck Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

9 Lesser-Known Tips for Easing Neck Pain

  • Referrence
    • 1.Halderman S, Carroll L, Cassidy DJ, Schubert J, Nygren A. The Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010 Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders. Eur Spine J. 2008; 17(Suppl 1): 5. doi: 10.1007/s00586-008-0619-8.
    • 2.Kim R, Wiest C, Clark K, Cook C, Horn M. Identifying risk factors for first-episode neck pain: A systematic review. Musculoskelet Sci Pract. 2018 Feb; 33: 77-83. doi: 10.1016/j.msksp.2017.11.007.
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