The holiday season can be stressful. Did you know that one early sign of too much stress is stress-induced neck pain? All the built-up tension of handling both day-to-day and holiday responsibilities can really take a toll on your body, and your neck is one of the most common areas stress-induced pain flares up.
So what differentiates stress-induced neck pain from regular neck pain? Stress-induced neck pain is defined as pain either triggered or worsened by psychological or emotional factors.
If you’ve noticed your neck has been hurting for a few days and can’t attribute it to an injury or sleeping on it wrong, stress may be the cause. Don’t worry, there are steps you can take to relieve the pain before calling a doctor.
Ask for help.
Feel like you don’t have enough time in the day to accomplish everything? Ask a friend to run that last-minute errand for you or instead of cooking the whole holiday dinner yourself, have each family member bring a different dish.
And don’t forget to prioritize. We know everything on your list is important, but sometimes you have to realize that you can’t get it all done, and that’s okay. Get the most important tasks done first, and don’t stress about the less important items.
Keep exercising regularly.
With everything that needs to get done, exercise often falls to the wayside in December which is detrimental for both your physical and mental health. Not to mention, exercise can help to relieve your neck pain by releasing feel-good endorphins to help dull the pain.
While you’re at it, get into the habit of stretching a few times a week. Regularly stretching your neck can loosen muscle tightness and maintain or expand your range of motion.
Indulge in a little ‘me time’.
We know, we know, there isn’t time to indulge yourself. But it’s important to carve out some time for yourself, even if it’s only 20 minutes each day. During that time, try to indulge in a calming activity like reading, meditating, taking a long bath, or getting a massage.
If none of these tips work in helping to relieve your stress-induced neck pain, or your pain has persisted for more than a few weeks, we recommend that you see a doctor. Have a happy holiday season and remember not to stress about the little things!