If it feels like the holiday hustle starts earlier every year, you’re not alone. As soon as the last trick or treater rings your bell and you start digging into the leftover candy, the stores switch their shelves from jack o’ lantern-themed décor to Christmas and Hanukkah. Right around the same time you can feel your stress levels start to rise, and so too does the chance that you’re going to start feeling neck pain.
There are plenty of reasons why we experience pain. Though we tend to associate neck pain with some kind of physical injury, the truth is that it is just as likely to be caused by the kind of tension and stress that we put ourselves through every holiday season. If you’re waking up in pain that simply will not go away, you’re not alone: the end-of-year holidays add so much to our already full schedules that the tension has to come out somewhere.
The good news is that stress-induced neck pain isn’t something that you just have to live with. There are a number of simple steps you can take that will provide you with real relief and let you enjoy this time of year instead of grinning and bearing it.
Here are some of the top solutions:
When you feel tension creeping into your shoulders, up your neck and into your jaw, don’t ignore it. Taking a few minutes to stretch as soon as you recognize muscle tightness will put a stop to a damaging cycle and keep your body feeling loose and relaxed.
If you already meditate, it might be a good idea to increase the amount of time that you dedicate to your practice. If you’re new to meditation, don’t be intimidated. There are plenty of excellent apps that will guide you through the process and introduce you to ways to calm your mind and eliminate anxiety.
Ask for Help
There is no reason for you to try to be all things to all people, and there is no reason why you have to be the only one running errands, doing holiday baking, shopping or wrapping gifts. If you know that your neighbor is going to the market, ask them to pick up an ingredient for you, and if you’re hosting a dinner then ask people to bring some of the food. Holidays are about being together, not about proving how much extra work you can take on.
Take Time Out for a Massage
It may seem like a luxury, but allowing yourself an hour to get a stress-relieving massage will ease knots in your muscles that contribute to your neck pain.
You may feel like there’s no time for exercise, but it is one of the most important things you can do to keep your muscles loose and your mind clear. Thirty minutes of exercise a few days a week will also help to relieve the stress that is causing your neck pain.
If your neck pain doesn’t go away as a result of these suggestions, then you may have injured yourself without even realizing it. Contact our cervical spine specialist in New Jersey to set an appointment to come in for an examination.