Modern treatment of neck pain puts a big emphasis on self-management, coping strategies, and a quick return to normal activities. Managing your stress is an important part of the treatment plan for neck pain.
Symptoms of Neck Tension
The symptoms of neck tension, which may come on either suddenly or slowly, include:
- muscle tightness
- muscle spasms
- muscle stiffness
- difficulty turning your head in certain directions
- pain that worsens in certain positions
Here are some treatments you can try:
- Neck stretches: If routinely done, gentle stretching exercises for the neck can loosen muscle tightness and maintain or expand range of motion for the neck.
- Heat: A hot bath or shower can be soothing for tense muscles. Heat makes it harder for our muscles to hold in tension.
- Therapy or support group: Cognitive behavioral therapy has proven benefits for helping to develop healthy thought patterns and deal with stress better. A support group or online forum where you can receive support can help you manage day-to-day stressors.
- 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.
- Family and Friends support: Engage your support system. 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.
- 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.
- Exercise: Working muscles makes it harder for them to tense up during times of stress. It releases endorphins, a hormone that dulls pain and generates feelings of well-being.
- Prioritizing: Try to relax. 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.
Treatment of neck pain has changed over the years. We now know that in most cases the sooner you get back to full activity, the better. Even if your neck still hurts a bit, it doesn’t mean that neck pain is doing harm. If your stress-induced neck pain is not relieved by a week or two of self-care, schedule an appointment with one of our experts at with Southwest Pain Management. We can discuss other treatment options and diagnose possible underlying conditions.