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Can Anxiety Cause Neck Pain

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Cervical Traction For Neck Pain

Body Reflex Hacking: Can Stress Cause Neck Pain?

One of the best ways to specifically target neck pain that results from anxiety is a process called cervical traction. The cervical spine is the uppermost region of the spine, composed of several vertebrae that hold your head in place. The vertebrae or disks in the cervical spine can become compressed as a result of tension in the area, and it can be helpful to decompress them and improve mobility.

What Causes The Neck To Hurt When Youre 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 affects the primary muscles and nerves running through the spine, shoulders, and neck.

Becoming so stressed out or anxious that you begin to tense up could cause harm to your body, even if only temporarily. Meanwhile, 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, its reasonable to consider neck pain remedies before the situation gets out of hand.

Dissociation And Cervical Spine And Craniocervical Instability

The word dissociation often presents a problem for people who suffer from it and are trying to research help for it. The problem is that the word dissociation is often used to describe, and accurately so, the displacement between the bones of the cervical spine. If a C3 has slipped well in front of a C4 for example it could be said that the C3 is in a position of dissociation with C4. It is out of place, it doesnt belong where it is. Many of you reading this article may be thinking, I am like the C3, sometimes I feel out of place like I dont belong in my space. For many of you, you are like the C3, sometimes you do feel out of place.

Lets briefly look at some research studies to help reassure you that this is not a made-up diagnosis to try to explain your episodes.

Here is a study in the journal Current Psychiatry Reports that looks for a cause of dissociation. The study does not mention cervical spine instability, it talks about the problem from a psychiatric viewpoint, but we can make some connections. First here is what the study highlights:

  • Dissociation involves disruptions of usually integrated functions of consciousness, perception, memory, identity, and affect .
  • While the precise neurobiological underpinnings of dissociation remain elusive, neuroimaging studies in disorders, characterized by high dissociation have provided valuable insight into brain alterations possibly underlying dissociation.

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Can Anxiety Cause Neck Pain

Identifying the source of neck pain can be a challenge. There are many potential and common causes of neck pain, and while you cycle through the possibilities, the ongoing pain can be aggravating. However, in many cases, people are surprised to find that the source of neck pain is not physical it can be caused by stress and anxiety.

While reducing anxiety can be difficult , managing the associated neck pain is much simpler a feat. Proactive measures can range from lifestyle changes to the use of simple neck traction devices, like the Neck Hammock, which gently stretch the affected area and promote long-term health. However, before we get into the ways to manage the chronic pain associated with anxiety and neck pain, its important to understand the causes and effects of anxiety.

In This Video A Demonstration Of A Prolotherapy Treatment Is Given

Can Stress Cause Shoulder Pain?

Prolotherapy is referred to as a regenerative injection technique because it is based on the premise that the regenerative healing process can rebuild and repair damaged soft tissue structures. It is a simple injection treatment that addresses very complex issues.

This video jumps to 1:05 where the actual treatment begins.

This patient is having C1-C2 areas treated. Ross Hauser, MD, is giving the injections.

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Nutritional Supplements For Anxiety: Curcumin

Curcumin is the active ingredient in the bright yellow southwest Indian spice, turmeric. Curcumin has a larger evidence base than most other supplements, is considered safe, and there are reasons to think it may be useful in the treatment of both anxiety and pain making it a perfect supplement to bring up here.

For anxiety: A 2015 study of rats found that curcumin increases the synthesis of docosahexaenoic acid , which is linked to the neuropathology of several cognitive disorders, including anxiety.65 The increases in DHA were accompanied by decreased anxiety. Crucially, one human trial also concluded that curcumin has a potential anti-anxiety effect.66

For pain: In another 2015 study, curcumin caused moderate to large reductions in pain in 17 men with very sore leg muscles.67 It also helped some aspects of strength loss. The effect size here passes the impress me test. These results constitute the only really good science news about any kind of treatment for delayed onset muscle soreness there is no other treatment for it but the passage of time. Now it just needs to be replicated. Its completely unknown whether this effect, if its real, would have any effect on any other kind of pain, but it is possible.

Never In The History Of Calming Down Has Anyone Ever Calmed Down By Being Told To Calm Down

Thats not strictly correct, but it is funny because its true in a sense. Being told to calm down in the right way, or telling ourselves, can be effective. But that right way is maddeningly elusive. Most people feel its a tall order for anxiey to yield to persuasion and reassurance. Its hard to outsmart it, or suppress it by force of will. We dont feel like we are good at calming down. Here are some of the typical ways that people reflexively try to calm down :

  • We tell ourselves to get over it, and that really doesnt work.
  • We apply logic and reason, telling ourselves that it doesnt make sense to be so anxious, and that doesnt work either.
  • We seek out the logic and reason of others, of friends with perspective and experts with authority, and that usually doesnt work. We still worry, we still feel jittery.
  • We try to distract ourselves, and sometimes that sort of works but only temporarily.
  • We try to sweat it out with exercise, and that may be the best solution that many people use. But it can still be unsatisfying. It takes a good chunk of time and energy, it doesnt always work, and you cant do it every time you need to blow off steam, and in any case exercise is stress reducing so long as it is something you actually want to do,14 and certainly not everyone does.

These arent best practices, just the easiest and most obvious things that worried people tend to try. That doesnt mean they are useless, and if you havent tried them, you should.

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Association Of Depression/anxiety Symptoms With Neck Pain: A Systematic Review And Meta

Zhongyong Liu

1School of Moxibustion, Jiangxi University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Nanchang, China

2College of Clinical Medicine, Jiangxi University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Nanchang, China


1. Introduction

Neck pain has become a common public health problem all over the world, with a high rate of disability, presents a negative impact on the health and quality of life in people, and exerts great pressure on individuals, families, health systems, and social economy . Reportedly, NP was ranked the fourth leading cause of disability next to ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and lower respiratory infection, with an annual prevalence rate exceeding 30% . In 2005, over a third of a billion had experienced neck pain more than 3 months of duration . Preliminary statistics showed that the incidence of NP in China ranged between 3.8% and 17.6%, and it affected nearly 15% of the global population . NP has obvious financial problems and the annual economic losses caused by NP are as high as $5 billion in America, while it can reach $800 million just for the treatment cost per year in China . The prevention and treatment of NP has attracted the wide attention of people from all walks of life and has important practical significance for the study of NP.

2. Methods

2.1. Search Strategy
2.2. Criteria for Selecting Articles
2.3. Data Extraction
2.4. Quality Assessment
2.5. Data Analysis
2.6. Ethical Statement

3. Results

3.1. Search Results

How Cervical Traction Works

Linden Method Neck Pain, Shoulder Pain, Throat Pain During Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Cervical traction is one of the most popular neck pain treatments. Its lauded for its ability to directly address the root issues of neck pain and provide sustained, long-term relief. While it defends against neck pain, it also promotes mobility in the area, which improves the necks ability to rotate and hold the head safely.

Traction works by gently pulling the head away from the neck. Compared to other cervical traction devices which may pose a risk to the neck, Neck Hammock gently cups the back of the head and creates space between the vertebrae in the cervical spine. If users feel uncomfortable at any time, they can simply sit up and disengage from the device.

  • Cervical traction gently pulls head away from the neck, decompressing the cervical spine

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Why Is My Shoulder Hurting For No Reason

Wondering to yourself, why does my neck and shoulder hurt? If youre experiencing shoulder pain, but you cant recall doing anything to trigger a nerve, and you arent feeling regular bouts of stress, there may be something internally irritating the shoulder that youre not aware of. Common conditions include:

  • Rotator cuff tendonitis and bursitis a swelling of the tissues and tendons that connect the muscles and bones in the shoulder
  • Rotator cuff tear a tear in the tissues that connect the muscle to the bone and tendons around the shoulder joint
  • Arthritis inflammation that causes chronic pain and tightness in the shoulder
  • Frozen shoulder stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint that typically worsens over time
  • Tendon tear a tear in the tissues connecting the muscle to the bone around the shoulder joint

Other Symptoms Of An Irritated Vagus Nerve

Here we see the mid-neck . Note that the vagus nerve is right behind the Sternocleidomastoid muscle and right in front of the scalenes. What are some of the tightest muscles in the necks of patients who have had injuries like whiplash? The SCM and the scalenes. Hence, irritation of the vagus nerve by these structures may explain many of the symptoms we see in these patients. In addition, remember that the vagus nerve is the wanderer, so it goes lots of other places where it can get irritated or have pressure placed on it. Lets explore some of those.

If we go back to the top, where the vagus nerve comes out of the skull, we can see why these same symptoms commonly plague patients with craniocervical instability . In the image to the right, youre looking at the skull base as the dotted lines and the two circles are holes in the skull where the different nerves exit. The Foramen magnum is the big hole at the bottom of the skull where the spinal cord and nerves exit. The Jugular Foramen is another smaller hole where the spinal accessory nerve and the vagus nerve come out.

In CCI patients, the skull is not stable on the neck. So these nerves are bound to get yanked around more, leading to irritation and vagus nerve dysfunction. In addition, the spinal accessory nerve also goes to the SCM and upper trap muscles, which are also muscles that are commonly tight in these patients. Meaning an irritated nerve can cause a tight and irritated muscle.


Chris Centeno, MD

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What To Do For Pain Between Shoulder Blades: 8 Treatments

There are numerous ways to treat pain between shoulder blades. These range from inexpensive at-home solutions to invasive treatments that require professional intervention. You should always talk with a doctor before starting any kind of treatment plan.

These are some of the more common treatments for upper back pain and shoulder blade pain that your doctor may recommend, or that you may wish to bring up to your doctor at your next appointment.

Above all, remember to be patient with yourself. Depending on the severity of your pain, it can take weeks or months for you to fully heal. Dealing with pain is tough, so dont push yourself too hard, and ask for help and support when you need it.

Stomach And Pelvic Causes

Can Anxiety Cause Neck Pain?

You may be surprised to hear that abdominal or even pelvic issues can cause shoulder blade pain, however this is actually relatively typical.9 Irritation of nerves that pass along the base of the diaphragm can cause pain which seems like it has actually come from your shoulder or shoulder blade. You might have heard people speak about having shoulder or shoulder blade pain after surgery. When gas is injected into the stomach cavity throughout laparoscopic surgery, it often irritates nerves along the bottom of the diaphragm leading to shoulder pain post-operatively.

Some conditions which might cause shoulder blade pain consist of gallstones, peptic ulcer disease, heartburn, and liver disease. With these conditions, the referred pain is frequently to the right shoulder blade. The pancreas is part of the digestive system, but pancreatitis is more likely to trigger pain in the left shoulder blade.

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Be Cautious With Marijuana: It Can Cause Anxiety When You Use It And When You Stop

Marijuana has a seriously undeserved reputation as an anti-anxiety medication. In fact it probably aggravates anxiety in many patients in both normal use and withdrawal it can get you both coming and going. I will elaborate, but first some cannabasics:

Around the web:

A few books, too:

  • It’s All in Your Head: True Stories of Imaginary Illness , by Suzanne OSullivan.

    This book consists mainly of well-told stories of severe psychosomatic illness and functional neurological disorders . The key take-away is that psychologically powered illness is common and can be amazingly severe. Although Dr. OSullivan is clearly concerned about the risk of incorrect diagnosis, and she is cautious and compassionate enough that I think she mostly gets it right . Its well-written and fascinating and has plenty to offer. I do wish there were citations.

Apply A Warm Compress

Heat brings blood to your muscles, which helps soften the muscle tissue and allows it to stretch and relax.

Try this:

  • Place a blanket or towel between your skin and a heating pad thats not too hot.
  • Dont leave the heating pad on for longer than 15 minutes.
  • After waiting for 20 minutes, you can apply the compress for 15 more minutes.

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Neck And Pain Disability Scale

The NPAD is a 20 item measure specifically developed for patients with neck pain to assess neck pain and related disability . It measures the intensity of pain, its interference with vocational, recreational, social and functional aspects of living and the extent of associated emotional factors. Patients respond to each item by marking along a 10-cm visual analogue scale. Item scores range from 0 to 5, and the total score is the sum of the item scores. A valid NPAD score can be generated if no more than 15% of the items are missing. The NPAD has been shown to have validity in comparison to other self-reported pain measures as well as supporting constructs of mood and neuroticism. Recently, a German version of the NPAD was developed and validated for the use in primary care settings.

General Neck Pain And Anxiety

What Causes Neck Pain? | Neck Pain Due To Stress

For similar reasons, those with anxiety may be more prone to having greater degrees of neck discomfort than those without anxiety. Mild to moderate neck pain is common without having any health problems it can be the result of sitting in chairs all day, sleeping in uncomfortable positions, looking down too long , not stretching, etc.

If you do not have anxiety, you might pass this off as a normal ache or pain that commonly occurs to everyone. However, if you have anxiety you might be more sensitive to physical sensations and unable to focus on anything else. Those of you who have panic attacks can have more heightened discomfort. The degree of mental energy you place on your neck may increase the pain and possibly worsen anxiety.

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Repetitive Strain Injury Of The Shoulder

Repetitive strain injury of the shoulder is caused by consistent repetitive use.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: shoulder pain from overuse, shoulder weakness, shoulder numbness

Symptoms that always occur with repetitive strain injury of the shoulder : shoulder pain from overuse

Symptoms that never occur with repetitive strain injury of the shoulder : severe shoulder pain, shoulder injury

Urgency: Self-treatment

But Run From Toxic Relationships

More formally stated, as psychologist Dr. James Coyne put it, depression is actually often actually misdiagnosed IED .49 This applies equally to anxiety, I have no doubt. For instance, we know that macaques with low social status are treated very harshly and it has measurable effects on their immune systems: they are inflamed, they get more infections.50 Fascinating. And clearly their problem is that they are just surrounded by asshole macacques.

Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.

not Freud or Gibson, but Notorious d.e.b. , Jan 24, 2010 (see

This is the kind of thing I mean when I cautiously counsel people to do their best to solve problems in their lives as a very basic defense against both anxiety and pain. I would never want to minimize the seriousness of mood disorders, but sometimes what looks like a mood disorder really is just a disheartening, stressful situation and many crappy situations can be changed, sooner or later. Not that its easy. In fact, its often dazzlingly difficult in the short term. Consider the tragic example of domestic violence: surrounded by one asshole in particular.

But the worse it is, the greater the need.

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