Stress-induced neck pain

Stress targets your neck. And if the stress lasts for a long time, the nagging neck pain only gets worse. Your muscles cramp, holding your shoulders in a vice grip, and ultimately the neck pain can change to a headache and dizziness. What is the solution to stress-induced neck pain? Less stress. Of course, that’s easier said than done. We therefore present three exercises here to make your neck limber again.

Stress is the main cause of neck pain

A stiff, painful neck is an ailment that happens to everyone sometimes. There are plenty of causes. To start with, the main source of this pain for people today is looking at a screen too long. A poor sleeping position is also a classic cause. Or neck pain from the wrong pillow. What else can give you a painful neck? A wrong movement when lifting something heavy. Or being a bit too competitive in squash or tennis, etc.

But what does your neck absolutely not want? The answer is long-term stress.

You neck carries a heavy burden

You have surely heard that stress is good for you. It causes an adrenaline surge and makes you alert. That may be good for a cave man in a forest with wild animals, but it’s tiring for people today who are constantly under stress.

This stress also affects your neck. What’s more, your neck is where the muscles and nerves of your back and shoulders meet those of your head. An average head weighs 4 to 6 kilograms. If you bend your head, the load can be as much as 27 kilograms. So your neck has it rather difficult. Stress can be the last drop that makes the bucket run over.

A stress headache makes everything even worse

Neck pain and headache are the Siamese twins of pain, because long-term stress also leads to a stress headache. This is sometimes described as a pressing pain, as though your head were being gripped by a tightly tensioned belt.

neck pain stress headache

With a stress headache it all goes from bad to worse, because then your shoulders (unconsciously) lift even more and your muscles get tighter. This causes your joints to collapse a bit. In time, this puts an extra load on your muscles.

Exercises for a limber neck

Are you suffering from stress-induced neck pain? Then you should tackle the cause. In the long run, you would do better to look for a solution to your excessive stress. Has your neck pain become almost unbearable? In that case, we advise you to consult your family doctor or physiotherapist.

To make your stiff neck a bit more limber, you can always try the following exercises. However, they are not advisable if you have a lot of pain from the exercise.

1. Shoulder lift

Your shoulder and neck muscles are connected to each other. With this easy exercise, you can kill two birds with one stone.

  • Take a deep breath and raise your shoulders.
  • Hold this position for ten seconds.
  • Breath out and let your shoulders drop completely.
  • Repeat ten times.

2. Massage with your fingertips

Work the stress away by massaging the transition between the neck and shoulders with your fingertips.

  • With the fingertips of your left hand, press where your neck meets your shoulder, on the right side of your body.
  • Press on the muscles and hold the pressure for five seconds. Let go when you feel the muscles relaxing.
  • Reverse the exercise: press on your left shoulder with the fingertips of your right hand.
  • Repeat five times on each side.

neck pain stress massage shoulder

3. Tip your head. Gently.

When doing this exercise, don’t let your head hang too long in the same position. Stiff neck muscles don’t like to move, but they won’t protest if you do this exercise gently.

  • Gently lower your right ear towards your right shoulder.
  • Then slowly change to the other side.
  • Repeat five times on each side.