Why does Christmas (Stress) guarantee a flare up of pain?

stress from christmas pain flare ups help

There is nothing like the busyness and stress of everything about Christmas to bring on your usual back and neck pain or cause that little niggle over the past few months to suddenly become incredibly problematic.

When pain is the last thing you need during a stressful time, it will always seem to flare up. WHY?

Pain is produced in the brain, not from the body part that hurts!

There is no such thing as a ‘pain’ nerve. The nerves in your body tell you ‘something’ has happened as they relay information to the brain about touch, heat, pressure, vibration or chemicals. All of this information travels via the nervous system from your body and into the brain.

The brain then takes this information and within milliseconds tries to make a sensible interpretation of it all.

This interpretation depends on:

stress from christmas pain flare ups

In addition to feeling a ‘Pain,’ December can be a perfect storm where a combination of smaller events can all add up to hit your threshold.

stress from christmas pain flare ups why


You might just feel a familiar ache in the buttock, pain into your arm or your normal stiff neck with a bit of a headache. But it is not intense or severe, it will be fine

But then you add:


OMG December is expensive $$$ drinks at Christmas Parties $$$ presents $$$ Holidays.

Christmas Family Stress

Whose house this year; navigating family arrangements; last time we met at Christmas #######, I always do the cooking and the other family bring shop desserts; I hate being in the room with ……

Loss of Healthy Routines

No healthy food at parties, too much drinking, too hungover to exercise, too many late nights.

Time Poor

4 weeks’ work needs to be finished in 3 weeks, wasted time with hangovers, kids Christmas concerts you have to go to, out most nights with end of year dinners.

pain event

The Nervous System can become more sensitive if your brain decides that the signals it has received is a problem and thinks your body is in danger. The brain will then increase its focus on this body part and in turn the nerves send more signals to the brain. This is like turning up the volume and amplifying your pain.

Alternatively, if you understand that your pain is influenced by the fact that you are tired, that you haven’t exercised for a week, that you are hung over, that the credit card bill is high……your brain can turn down the volume of your pain.

As you can see, Pain = Damage.

The same amount of ‘damage’ can cause high or low levels of pain depending on external stressors.

So remember, in this hectic month of December:

Enjoy Christmas and the New Year for what it is!

Merry Christmas and we wish you a Happy and Healthy 2019!

From the Staff at Active Solutions Physiotherapy and Fitness Classes

Click on the links below to book online for a physiotherapy assessment and treatment or give us a call on 0438 648 884.

Like this article? Please share to help others.

More to explorer ...

netball shoes
Ashlee Unie

Netball Shoes

The Saturday netball season is here! Each week thousands of eager netballers will lace up their netball shoes and head

Read More »
home exercises
Megan O'Shea

Home Exercises

When you see a Physiotherapist, you will walk out of the appointment knowing what the problem is, having had some

Read More »
weak wrists
Emily Hagan

Weak wrists?

Weak wrists make arm and body weight exercise quite difficult. There is nothing worse than feeling pain in an otherwise

Read More »

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *