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Is it possible to have nerve damage in neck due to stress and anxiety?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2001
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My friend wants to know, is it at all possible to have a nerve damage in ones neck at the result of only stress or anxiety? To an extent of an electric sensation and feeling uncomfortable, pressing on the neck does increase the sensation. Or is it strictly due to muscles and bone displacement directly pinching or moving the nerve? Thanks!
Posted Wed, 5 Sep 2012 in Anxiety and Stress
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 41 minutes later

Stress and anxiety can produce a wide range of symptoms. Some of the symptoms that can be associcated with anxiety are: palpitations, chest pain, sweating, trembling, nausea, hot flashes, irritability, easily tired, sleep disturbance and muscle tension.
The last one , muscle tension, may be associated with pain/ tightness in the neck and shoulders.
In terms of the abnormal sensations (neuralgia), it is thought that in some of the neuralgias (conditions where persons experience abnormal sensations in different parts of the body, normally defined and classified according to the nerve area involved) stress may play a role in sometimes both initiating and continuing the condition.

Because neuralgias can also be caused by trauma to the nerves by causes other than stress, it is important for your friend to see a doctor who could take a history, determine which exact area of the body is involved and therefore classify it. For example occipital neuralgia involves the upper neck and back of the head.
After diagnosis then a possible cause can be ascertained, though in some cases the exact cause is never known.
Treatment might involve stress/anxiety treatment if this if thought to be related or the use of medication.

I hope this information helps and I hope that your friend feels better. Feel free to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Is it possible to have nerve damage in neck due to stress and anxiety? 36 minutes later
Sorry, I'm not quite sure i fully understand. Does the stress alone cause neuralia or does it irritate it by means of muscle tension? if by stress alone there is no abnormalities physically?
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 55 minutes later

It can do both in some cases, in some persons it causes the muscle tension in the neck and the neuralgia and in others who have it for other reasons, it makes it worse.
It is best however to rule out any physical causes first before attributing it to stress alone.

I hope this helps, feel free to ask anything else
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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