Neck pain is another stereotypical symptom of stress. Compared to headaches which develop and become more painful as the effects of stress grow stronger, neck pain is most noticeable when attempting to go back to a healthier state.
This might seem strange at first, but on second thought it is to be expected. Stress causes our minds, hearts and bodies to become tense. When you are under such tension for a long time, this stressed state becomes the new 'normal' state. All aspects of our being constrict into a smaller, less capable form to sustain less damage from the tension of stress.
Just observe the body of a person who is under constant stress: bent back, drawn-in neck, tense shoulders - overall bad posture. After this stressed pose has become the new norm and the person tries to assume a healthy posture again - pain sets in.
You can quickly judge how much stress a person has been under lately by touching and exerting small pressure on the neck and shoulder area. If the person finds it painful or if the muscles feel like concrete, remind them to take steps toward making their lives less stressful.
A good massage is a efficient, semi-pleasant way to relieve the tension of the body in the short term and alleviate neck pain and shoulder pain. Such a massage may feel very painful at first, but as tension is relieved a state of deep relaxation should set in.