Stress can be a pain in the neck, literally. Thankfully, some easy, natural hacks can help you manage your pain.
Stress takes its toll on the body. From headaches and muscle tension to weight gain and depression, stress may be intangible, but its effects can be painfully physical. What starts as a crick in the neck caused by too many hours hunched over our phones or laptops can quickly develop into chronic pain that inhibits our daily lives.
The worst part?
It’s impossible to avoid stress completely. Jobs, families, bills, and relationships — you would have to live like a hermit to escape all the worries of daily life. So what can you do?
In this post, we’ll show you some simple and natural hacks for managing stress-induced neck pain. Don’t carry the weight of the world on your shoulders: the solution may be easier than you think.
Is It All in My Head? The Science behind Stress-Induced Pain
Let’s say you have a nasty accident and whiplash strains the muscles in your neck. You do all the right things to look after yourself, but the pain doesn’t go away. Weeks or even months pass, and you’ve recovered from the injury, but the pain persists. Or perhaps you’ve been having a tough time at work. Money is tight, and bills need are overdue. Your sleep is interrupted, and you’re in a constant state of worry. Worst of all, your neck is stiff and painful, and you’re at your wit’s end.
Why does this happen? Well, both of these situations are examples of stress-induced neck pain.
Research has yet to discover a clear connection between physical pain and emotional distress, but, for many of us, the proof is in the pudding. Stress is a wily thing — it’s hard to pin down the extent of the damage it causes because it’s immeasurable. We can’t quantify stress, so we can’t conclusively establish its role in inducing pain, but the message from the scientific community is clear: it’s not all in your head. If you feel physical symptoms of pain, then you need to take steps to manage it.
6 Natural Hacks for Managing Neck Pain
Whether you’ve got a crick in your neck or chronic neck pain that won’t relent, these natural hacks can get you back in tip-top shape.
1. Stretch it out
Think about the last time you were stressed. You probably experienced clenched muscles and a tightened jaw. Stress causes tension in our muscles and, when our muscles are tense for a prolonged period, they become painful. The easiest way to alleviate this pain is to stretch it out. Try gently rolling your head from side-to-side and up-and-down, paying close attention to particular points of tension. You can do this at your desk, while you’re cooking or even when you’re stuck in a traffic jam. The goal is to loosen the muscles and relieve that pent up tension. For a more dynamic approach, you could also try yoga. The stretching exercises in yoga are perfect for re-aligning posture and reviving exhausted muscles.
If you routinely experience stress-induced neck pain, it may be time for a more zen-like approach. The benefits of regular meditation are extensive, from lowering blood pressure to slowing breath and heart rate. But the number one benefit of meditation for many is its ability to induce a state of total relaxation. Regular meditation creates a feeling of overall well-being by reducing cortisol (the stress hormone) levels. The more you meditate, the less you’re affected by the stresses of everyday life. Meditation doesn’t have to be intimidating either. Check out our beginner’s guide to meditation and start your journey to achieving inner tranquility.
3. Massage Therapy
When it comes to stress-induced neck pain, nothing works better than massage therapy. A good massage has a double whammy effect, tackling both the root cause of stress and its symptoms in one revitalizing swoop. Our InstaShiatsu+ Neck and Back Massager with Heat is designed to target specific high-tension regions for lasting relief of stress and soreness. Simply slip your arms through the wrist support and allow the stress and pain to slip away.
4. Get moving
We know the last thing you feel like doing when you’re in pain is exercise but bear with us. We all know that exercise is good for us. It keeps our joints limber, our weight down, and our heart strong, but exercise is also a great way of fighting stress. When we exercise, we release endorphins — the happy hormone — that counter the cortisol in our bodies and deliver an overall feeling of wellness. If you’re not quite ready to go for a run or hit the gym, swimming is an effective option. The buoyancy of the water will take the pressure off your joints, giving you a big watery hug that will help ease your neck pain. Take it slow and, if you feel the pain worsening, stop. Even bobbing about on an inflatable will help.
5. Get hydrated
When pain strikes, you may be tempted to reach for an alcoholic beverage. Nothing says relaxation like a cold one at the end of the day. Resist the urge and opt for water instead. Did you know that each spinal disc is made up of around 80% water? It shouldn’t come as any surprise that hydration is essential for a pain-free neck. The discs between the vertebrae in the spine need water to maintain their alignment and keep unwanted pressure at bay. By staying hydrated, we provide essential protection to our spinal discs, meaning no more stiffness or aches and pains.
6. Increase your Magnesium Intake
Magnesium is a magic mineral that aids the contraction and relaxation of our muscles. By increasing your magnesium intake, you can help your body recover from pain more quickly. Getting more magnesium is easy: it is found in many fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, and soy products — just look at the label. You can also absorb magnesium through your skin by taking an Epsom salt bath or lathering up with some magnesium oil. If you’re considering taking a supplement, remember to consult with your doctor first.
Do you struggle with managing neck pain? Unfortunately, stress is unavoidable, but there are plenty of proven methods to ease its impact on your life. Browse our range of personal massagers today and stop your pain in its tracks.