5 Ways to Get Rid of Neck Pain Caused by Stress and Anxiety

Pain caused by stress or anxiety can be a pain in the neck (literally!). Since the average human head weighs about 15 pounds, the muscles in the neck are already strained on a regular basis. Add some physical or emotional stress to the mix, and you have the perfect recipe for chronic, unceasing neck pain. Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to stop that from happening.

What Causes the Neck to Hurt When You’re Stressed or Anxious?

Pain is typically caused by an automatic reaction in the musculoskeletal and nervous systems after the body experiences trauma. However, stress-related pains in the neck are usually the result of emotionally-driven anxiety which effects the primary muscles and nerves running through the spine, shoulders, and neck.

Becoming so stressed out or anxious that you begin to tense up your body will do great harm to your body, even if only temporarily. On the contrary, long-term tension could create a snowball effect that might lead to chronic neck or back pain. Because of the potentially damaging effects that stress can have on the body, it’s reasonable to consider neck pain remedies before the situation gets out of hand.  

Top 5 Stress-Related Neck Pain Remedies

Most physical therapists advise self-care for minor stress-related neck pain, including the use of emotional coping strategies, dietary changes, and posture correction techniques. Taking an active role in neck pain treatment can help you get back to your routine more quickly. In the meantime, try one of these other highly effective neck pain relief methods before you call a doctor or chiropractor:

  • Get a Gentle Massage

One of the best ways to decrease the amount of pain in your neck is to massage the muscles that are most irritated. Letting someone else do the massaging for you can reduce the amount of strain experienced. Moreover, adding hot or cold compresses can provide quicker relief during a tender rub down.

  • Stretch It Out

Stress-related pain may go away more quickly if you stretch out the muscle running from your lower back to the top of your neck. Several effective stretching exercises come highly recommended by doctors and chiropractors. These gentle workouts can be done in the comfort of your home and without the need for specialized equipment.

  • Try Doing Yoga

Whether you join a class or do poses in your living room, yoga can help relieve tension, ease muscle pain, and reduce stress. In fact, research shows that just a few minutes of yoga can drastically improve your overall health and your ability to cope with stress.

  • Stop the Unhealthy Habits

Smoking cigarettes may be harmful for obvious reasons, but drinking caffeine before bed may have some underlying effects you’re unaware of. Pre-sleep stimulants can create undue tension in your nervous and musculoskeletal system, results in stress-related neck pain even if you’re always in a good mood.

  • Exercise the Pain Away

Moderate exercise has numerous health benefits, and it can also decrease the pain in your neck if you do the right workouts. Time in the gym can increase your cortisol levels, minimize oxidative stress, and relieve pain in the neck, back, and shoulders within a single session.


NOTE: If you cannot get a handle on your emotional well-being and it is causing more than moderate-to-severe neck pain, consult your doctor right away.

Author: Jill Thompson

I’ve been married for 8 years to my loving husband Mike. We have two boys that keep us busy with sports. Having kids has definitely made sleep an even more important element in our lives. Now, our sleep quality not only affects me and my husband, but our two boys. Poor sleeping habits might lead us to poor parenting decisions.

When I’m not obsessing about sleep you can find me playing tennis or golf.

I love talking about sleep and hope your sleep quality improves after stopping by our site.

  1. Reply
    Hannah Schroeder December 1, 2017 at 12:58 am

    Thanks for mentioning that a chiropractor can offer several effective stretching exercises to help relieve neck pain. I started a new job about three months ago, and I spend all day sitting at a desk typing. When I get home, my neck aches so much that I have trouble sleeping. If I see a chiropractor about my pain, maybe I can sleep better at night.

  2. Reply
    Johndra Coleman January 15, 2018 at 7:50 pm

    I either sleep the wrong way or I am stressed out but my head has hurt for a week over a sore neck. I’m using heating pads and ice packs and it comes back. I need some advice.JC.

    • Reply
      Sarah Cummings February 8, 2018 at 9:20 am

      I would consider visiting a doctor for this. Applying ice or heating packs can lead to more problems if used incorrectly.

  3. Reply
    Sharath January 25, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    This is awesome. All the remedies are so very simple to get rid of the pain out of stress. Thank you for sharing. Agree to the point of gentle massage. That truly gives a great relief.

  4. Reply
    Julius Amberfield February 15, 2018 at 5:02 am

    It sure got my attention when you said that stretching can actually work well in getting rid of neck and back pain and that there were actually some stretching exercises that were recommended by chiropractors to follow. The problem is that I am not sure what those stretches are, so I think it will be best if I just asked for the help of a chiropractor. I seriously need help because the pain in my neck has been around for too long that it has already affected my job. I don’t want to let it get worse. Thank you for the suggestion. I appreciate it.

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