On a routine basis I am asked whether or not stress could be responsible for the onset of a patient’s facial pain. The answer to this question is a resounding “Yes!” but there are three things to understand in order to appreciate how this occurs and why it is so common.
When you are under stress for a long period of time, or when your emotional world is characterized by anger, sadness, loneliness, loss of control, worry, and anxiety (to name just a few), the brain becomes understandably upset. As a result, the brain is unable to provide the exquisite control over blood flow, muscle tension, and nerve discharge that are essential for muscle comfort. Loss of this control leads to an accumulation of irritating chemicals in your muscles like lactic acid, and others that leads to pain and muscle tightening.
In the presence of this irritating chemical environment the nerves that run through your muscles fire excessively and pain along with muscle tightening result. In essence a brain under emotional siege, sets the stage for muscles to falter.