There is a strong link between mental stress and neck pain as well as other types of discomfort that many people experience occasionally. When you are under stress at work, home, or school, the tension and pain in your neck and shoulders can be overwhelming. One of the main causes of this pain is anxiety.
Anxiety can affect anyone at any time and does not discriminate based on factors such as gender, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, age, or country of origin. It is natural to feel panic, fear, and stress in certain situations, but if these feelings persist and have seemingly random triggers, you may be at risk for a more serious anxiety disorder. One of the physical consequences of anxiety is neck pain, among other issues.
Anxiety Is a Pain In The Neck
Anxiety can cause neck pain and other types of discomfort in your body. It is more common than you may realize. A study by the U.S. National Institutes of Health found that a significant percentage of participants with neck pain reported experiencing anxiety, depression, and related conditions. The study used the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and found that 68% of participants said they had anxiety. However, there is a lack of additional supporting evidence that can be compared to these findings.
It is interesting to note that multiple surveys have shown a connection between neck pain and mood disorders, including anxiety and depression, which are known to be risk factors for neck pain. If anxiety is a known cause of neck pain, it is important to understand what can trigger anxiety and related conditions in order to prevent neck pain and other problems.
What causes anxiety?
There is no definitive answer to what causes anxiety, as it is a problem with a psychological component. However, there are theories and educated guesses, including:
- Certain medical conditions have been linked to anxiety. These include heart disease, diabetes, thyroid issues, respiratory problems, substance abuse disorder, chronic pain conditions or irritable bowel syndrome, certain medications, and other medical conditions.
- It is possible that an unknown medical condition could be causing anxiety and neck pain, especially if you do not have a history of anxiety among your blood relatives, have never experienced anxiety before, do not avoid situations that many people consider stressful, or have a sudden onset of anxiety that is not related to stress or a previous episode of mental illness.
Like the other 40 million U.S. adults with anxiety, you may also be susceptible to anxiety and its physical symptoms if you have a history of:
- Illness-related stress
- A buildup of stress from daily life without a healthy way to expunge it
- Your personality
- You have another mental health disorder
- Family history
But what if your neck pain isn’t anxiety or stress-related?
It is worth considering whether this is a possibility, and discussing it without dismissing the role of anxiety. Now, let’s talk about what neck pain feels like. Many people describe neck pain as a persistent ache, stabbing or burning sensation, sensitivity to mild pressure, headaches, numbness or tingling in the arms, and tension or tightening of neck muscles. Overall, neck pain is unpleasant. As you try to manage anxiety and reduce neck pain, it is also important to consider other factors that may contribute to or cause your discomfort, such as:
- Your age. As people grow older, they may be susceptible to degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis or spinal stenosis.
- Injury caused by sudden trauma or forced movements to the head or neck.
- Mental stress.
- Physical strain caused by your profession or other activity.
- Bad posture, obesity, or other things that may interfere with spinal balance.
- Tumors, growths, or other medical conditions.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Doctors diagnose neck pain through a physical examination and by collecting information about your medical history and that of your family. They will identify pain and mobility issues by examining and moving your neck, and may also test muscle strength and reflexes. It is important to tell your doctor about any previous neck injuries, such as whiplash or a herniated disc. Your doctor may also ask about your occupation or other activities that may impact your neck.
Midwest Ketafusion®️ is the first and only ketamine infusion clinic in Davenport, and Iowa City, Iowa, serving patients from Iowa City, Coralville, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids & Quad Cities, and the surrounding mid-west states of Illinois, Kansas & Missouri. Contact us today to get started!