Ways to Relieve Stress-Induced
Pain in Your Neck and Jawline

Ways to Relieve Stress-Induced
Pain in Your Neck and Jawline

If you are constantly rubbing your neck and shoulders after staring at a computer screen all day, then you may be in need of some pain-relieving techniques that will leave you feeling relaxed, refreshed, and ready for your next Zoom call.

When we are focused or stressed, our bodies respond by tensing up the muscles in our neck, jaw, and back. This natural stress response can be helpful when preparing for a physical threat (like fighting off a bear) – but it’s not exactly helpful when we are dealing with the common stresses we experience throughout our days. You might find that your muscles tense up when having a difficult conversation, when you’re working against a tight deadline, or while you’re sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic on your way home. Stress is inevitable, but your pain doesn’t have to be.

Here are some great ways to relieve stress-induced pain in your neck and jawline:

1 – Yoga or Stretching

Yoga is a great way to relieve stress through body stretching, sweating, and meditation. But if you don’t have time for a class, you can incorporate some simple neck stretches into your daily routine.

Neck Stretch: Standing tall, use your right hand on the top of your head to guide your right ear towards your right shoulder. Apply light pressure until you feel a stretch in the left side of your neck. Hold this pose for 20-30 seconds, release, and then repeat on the left side. Do this a few times and you’ll feel the tension melt away!

Neck Release: Standing tall, raise your chin towards the ceiling. Then tilt your head to the right until you feel a stretch on the left side of your neck. Breathe deeply for 20-30 seconds, then go back to the center with your chin to the ceiling. Repeat this stretch on the left side.

Posture Correction: Sitting tall, place two fingers on the front of your chin. Use your two fingers to push your chin back, giving yourself a “double chin.” At the same time, act as if a string is pulling the top of your head towards the ceiling. You will feel the stretch at the base of your neck.

Jaw Tension Release: With your mouth closed, push your tongue against the roof of your mouth. Then, you will slowly open your mouth while not allowing the tongue to move from the roof of your mouth. This will re-train your jaw muscles to not overbite and relax.

2 – Check-In with Your Body Throughout the Day

As you are working, stop and assess your posture regularly, then adjust as needed. Check that your spine is in alignment while sitting at your desk — is your head over your shoulders and your shoulders over your hips? Another way to relieve neck and jaw pain is to set your computer monitor at the level of your eyes. Simply raising or lowering your monitor can help prevent neck strain. Lastly, make sure to get up and move every hour. Simply walking around for a few minutes at a time can help relieve the tension in your neck and shoulders.

3 – Look for Stress or Pain Patterns

Do you find yourself feeling stressed at a particular time of day? Or under certain circumstances? When you find your neck muscles tightening or your jaw clenching, ask yourself what is causing that response. When you determine what is causing you stress, plan to circumvent the stress before it happens. For example, if you get stressed when you’re rushing up against a deadline, do your best to plan ahead so you don’t have to rush last minute. If a stressor is unavoidable, choose a different response. For example, if a weekly meeting is a cause of stress that can’t be moved or changed, schedule a few minutes of alone time before or after the meeting so that you can breathe, go for a walk, give yourself a quick neck massage, or some other activity to help relieve that stress.

4 – Create Healthy Sleep Habits

Getting eight hours of consistent sleep each night will help your body recover from the stress it experienced throughout the day. To avoid neck or back issues, invest in a supportive pillow that will keep your head and neck aligned. A great pillow can also help you get more restful sleep so you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day! Note: Teeth grinding is one of the most common causes of jaw pain. If you grind your teeth at night, purchase a night guard or get fitted for one by your dentist.

Many people live in a continual state of stress. This extended muscle contraction in the neck and jaw can lead to prolonged issues such as back and shoulder pain, migraines, or tension headaches. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

At BAWR, we help our clients reduce stress-induced jaw and neck pain through our lymphatic facial and massage. Our lymphatic drainage massage targets areas in the face to bring fresh, oxygenated blood to the skin’s surface. Using fingers and gua sha stones, we can not only lower stress, but reduce puffiness, accelerate wrinkle reduction, and alleviate TMJD (temporomandibular joint disorder). Plus, our licensed physical therapists can teach you jaw exercises to help you experience a new level of comfort you’ve never known before.