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Texas Orthopedics, Sports & Rehabilitation Associates

Monday, July 4, 2016

Stress, Neck and Shoulder Pain

The American Psychological Association reports that 50% of all Americans experience chronic stress. They also report that one in 10 people suffer from neck or shoulder pain. So what's the connection here?

Studies show that high levels of emotional or psychological stress can contribute to chronic physical pain, most often in the neck and shoulders. This type of chronic pain has subsequently been linked to irritability, fatigue and even depression.

Stress is encountered daily in life, whether it be of a personal or professional nature. The body is equipped to handle stress in small spurts. It is when there are ongoing issues that tax us mentally that our physical bodies start to act up. Tightness and tension occurs in the muscles, and joints may begin to ache.

Managing this sort of pain usually starts with managing stress.

In addition to keeping stress levels in check, here are a few other ways to help relieve chronic, stress-related pain:
  • Neck stretches-lower your chin to your chest for 15 seconds and let the weight of your head stretch the upper back, then drop your head to each the right and left sides for another few seconds. Do a few every hour throughout the day.
  • Progressive relaxation-mentally focus on individual muscles by first tightening them, and then relax. Repeat the 'tense' and 'relax' motions several times until the pain subsides.
  • Meditation-sit quietly with eyes closed for 5-10 minutes and listen to a guided meditation or just enjoy the silence. Work up to 10-20 minutes of meditation at a time.
  • Move your body-aerobic exercises such as jumping jacks or arm circles engage the muscles in the neck and shoulders to increase blood flow and release toxins.
If after addressing your stress, neck and shoulder pain still persists, please contact us for an appointment.

(Adapted from CNN-Health)

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