Physical Pain From Emotional Stress?

I have been having a health issue for a couple months now – the lower to middle back of my head has been very sore and tender, sometimes feeling a burning pressure. This is not headache pain as I know what that feels like. I also have a stiff/sore upper neck that hurts to turn certain ways. If I drink alcohol, I wake up the next morning with very sore lymph nodes in my neck and in the back of my head. That has never happened to me before. Of course, if you look up “sore lymph nodes after drinking alcohol” online, the only thing that comes up is Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. But that pain is immediate after drinking, not the next morning, and I don’t have any other symptoms of lymphoma. My blood panels are normal, except I noticed my white blood cell count has been cut in half since my last labs 2 years ago, bordering on the low end of normal – my doctor didn’t see a problem with this.

My doctor isn’t sure what it is, although she thinks possibly Occipital Neuralgia, pain from damage to or inflammation of the occipital nerves in the back of the head. She gave me a medication that seemed to be at least helping, except today I am in a lot of pain again. I have had a couple people tell me that maybe it is just stress. Honestly, I have been stressed with this wedding coming up, even though I have been way more stressed out in the past. But it warrants this question – can stress and emotional pain cause physical pain?  I know it can in certain ways – fatigue, headaches, tension, etc.  But can it cause real, hard pain? Can it irritate the lymph nodes when you drink?

I guess I will find out after the wedding – if it improves after that. Otherwise, I will see what my doctor thinks the next step is. She already told me that if the medication doesn’t help then she will refer me to a neurologist. My fear is that it won’t stop and no one will be able to tell me what it is. If it is emotional – I’m kinda screwed.


11 thoughts on “Physical Pain From Emotional Stress?

  1. Oh, I too believe stress can play a huge part is dis-ease, and doctors have begun to get on board with that belief too, more than belief, but scientific evidence supports that truth. The whole body works together, or against itself. But knowing what is going on helps so much too, naming it. Because not knowing adds fear. (for me) So I hope you can pinpoint what’s going on and at least know and go from there. In the meantime, if stress is part of the culprit, what soothing things do you enjoy and love? Hopefully you can incorporate those into your daily schedule.


    1. I think that’s the issue – I don’t FEEL like I am stressed; I just have certain anxieties about the wedding. I actually relax a lot. Maybe it’s my subconscious stress that may be getting to me.


      1. Oh my head. My whole body. With some flashbacks is physical pain down there. Or in my tummy. With the switching and DID I have massive head pains in all different parts of my brain depending on who is in charge.


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