If you are a mom of younger kids, working in a high stress executive job, feeling the weight of mental stress or anxiety, you are not alone. Between juggling various responsibilities, work hours, taking care of your family, and managing your own well-being, it's common to feel overwhelmed and stressed. But mental stress can have an effect on your immune system, sleep pattern, gut health and can even manifest as muscle tension or tightness, pain or soreness. This can be seen as a new area of pain or a flare up of pre-existing muscle pain or conditions such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, etc. Interestingly stress can also reduce your pain threshold, leading to a higher perceived pain level. Though stress can manifest as pain and muscle tension throughout the body, but it tends to manifest more in some specific areas.
In this blog lets discuss more about these pains and where they are felt in the body. Once you are able to identify that your pain is caused due to mental stress or anxiety you will be able to address the root cause and manage it better.
Stress related pain and muscle tension can be specifically seen in the Tension Triangle, that is made up of three areas – the neck, shoulders & upper back and jaw.
When you are stressed or anxious, your posture changes to a more slouched posture. This is commonly seen as rounded shoulders and forward head posture (poking the head out). These poor postures change the length tension relationship between the muscles leading to tightness and pain. these can lead to secondary implications. Example – When there is tension in the muscles that run between the neck and shoulder, this tension can be transmitted to the back of the head as a Cervicogenic headache. Long standing chronic headaches can lead to tightness in the jaw joint (temporomandibular joint or TMJ) leading to jaw pain. These pains can also be exacerbated by clenching of teeth, which is commonly seen with mental stress.
Here is a video that explains 3 tips for Reducing Stress-Related Pain and Muscle Tension:
One of the tips mentioned in the video is to take regular breaks during the day to stretch your body. This can be easily done by doing some desk based exercises take one to three minutes of your time every hour and can be done in your office or at home. You can access them HERE.
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