Health Blog

Neck Pain and Headaches from Stress

Stress is nothing more than our reaction to a provocation that upsets our physical and/or mental equilibrium. Therefore, stress is an inevitable part of life. Nevertheless, when we are faced with stress, our “fight or flight” response can be triggered; this causes the production of hormones including adrenaline and cortisol to increase and rush through your body.

 

About Your Neck Pain and Headaches

 

Simultaneously, muscles in our neck and scalp may contract. These muscle contractions occur when we are faced with stress, anxiety, or depression. When these muscles contract they often cause dull, nagging headaches that often turn into full-blown migraine headaches.

 

Robert Gotlin, DO, director of Orthopaedics and Sports Rehabilitation at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City says this about neck pain,

 

“As stress goes up I definitely see more patients with neck pain. Every year around tax time, the number of patients with neck pain increases, especially among Wall Street types here in New York.”

 

Another cause of neck pain is structural and results from a neck joint issue. This type of a headache is known as a neck headache or more properly as a Cervicogenic headache. Research shows that fixing the neck can end a headache. The joints usually associated in a neck headache are:

  • Atlanto-occipital joint (O-C1)
  • Atlanto-axial joint (C1/2)
  • C2/3 cervical spine joints

When your neck joints are too tight, a headache can result in just a few minutes. Not all stress is bad, however. Stress within your comfort level helps you to perform under pressure, keep you motivated and to keep you safe when danger is evident.

 

How Many Types of Headaches Are There?

 

Headaches come in many sizes and pain levels, however, there are four distinct types of a headaches:

 

  1. Tension
  2. Sinus
  3. A migraine
  4. Cluster

 

Tension headaches are the most common of all headaches and can occur simply from holding your head in one position for too long. Some of the activities that can lead to a tension headache from this source are:

 

  • Staring at a computer screen
  • Working with a microscope
  • Fine work with one’s hands

Other causes of tension headaches include:

 

  1. Physical or emotional stress
  2. Caffeine (too little or too much)
  3. Sinus infections from a cold or the Flu
  4. Alcohol consumption
  5. Eye strain
  6. Fatigue
  7. Tobacco use

 

Serious debilitating headaches are a warning that you should seek medical attention; tension headaches, however, are most often just a nagging annoyance, though some can be painful enough to disrupt your daily activities.

 

How Do I Deal with a Tension Headache?

 

Since tension headaches are the most common of all headaches, here are three tips on how to deal with tension headaches.

 

Relax – Tension headaches are called this for a reason; relaxation and stress relief can help alleviate your headache. While stress is an undeniable part of life, an overabundance of stress can lead to more serious diseases such as high blood pressure or heart disorders. Activities that strain your neck and back should be curtailed and stretching breaks should be a regular part of your work day.

 

Fix Your Workplace Ergonomics – A headset for your telephone, proper monitor positioning for your computer, a desktop riser that lets you work while standing. In addition, make sure your eyeglasses and contacts prescription are current.

 

Stretch Your Muscles – Stretching is a great way to release tense muscles in the neck. Try stretching with a general exercise program designed by a trainer or physical therapist that is specific to your needs.

 

Headaches can be inconvenient and painful. Talk with your physical therapist today to see if your headaches are stemming from neck pain or stress and learn how to treat them effectively!

 

 

Sources

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-symptoms-causes-and-effects.htm

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000797.htm

http://www.everydayhealth.com/neck-pain/neck-pain-reduce-stress.aspx

https://www.painscience.com/articles/tension-headache.php

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tension-headache/symptoms-causes/dxc-20211470

http://www.healthline.com/health/tension-headache

http://physioworks.com.au/injuries-conditions-1/neck-headache-cervicogenic-headache

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR MAIL LISTDiscover the solution to pain-free living.
Sign up today for monthly health tips.

Our Reviews
Arlene Gross
Arlene Gross
15:58 22 Jun 18
Everyone that worked with me was helpful. I enjoyed watching the staff interact as they worked as they laughed and smiled making me feel that it was fun to exercise. My knee pain is less and I look forward to having the same results with my back.
Paul Grant
Paul Grant
21:51 03 Apr 18
I have read lots of reviews that say "the entire staff of ..." is great, and you know that it is BS.. .. Butt at OBTS that statement is true. The person answering the phone, appointment setting they work around my schedule. It is truly a team concept. Everyone that has work with/on me keeps me focus on getting healthy to play golf.... Even those employees that haven't work with/on me are upbeat, positive and encouraging both their patients and me..... follow up phone calls, positive, hand written notes of encouragement, reminding me to do my homework so I can play golf this year. Great Employees, Great Business!.
Jose Ico
Jose Ico
12:43 27 Apr 18
My wife and I have been coming here for a year. They have wonderful customer service and the treatments were great. I could say that since coming here for treatments, I am now able to walk properly and sleep well at nights. They help you in the best way possible. The people here are great and we definitely recommend it to everyone!
Tim Nash
Tim Nash
15:32 27 Aug 18
My first experience with OBTS was very positive. During the course of my 13 therapy sessions I worked with many different therapists and all of them were professional and competent. They were able to help me effectively control my pain without medication using their therapy program. Unfortunately, they could not get my physical condition back to the same ability as before. However, this is due to the fact that it was later determined by my doctors that I required surgery. I plan on returning to OBTS for my post-op physical therapy and have already scheduled my evaluation appointment. Scheduling seems to be a challenge sometimes but that's probably an indication of their patient's satisfaction and good reviews. Thank you OBTS!
Diane Burns
Diane Burns
02:30 16 Mar 18
I’ve had an incredible experience here at OBTS. In just two and half weeks I’ve seen and felt remarkable results. My hip mobility has improved by 30%. I credit the excellent physical therapists and the deep tissue laser therapy for my gains. I’ve gone from walking with a limp and pain everyday to walking normally and know that I’ll be back to running in the future. Every single person is warm and friendly here. Great place!
See All Reviews