Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Is Zoloft Giving You A Pain In The Neck?

Zoloft (sertraline) is a very commonly prescribed anti-anxiety medication and can be connected to neck pain in a number of ways.  Some patients taking Zoloft for anxiety disorders report developing headaches and odd pains in the head and front of the neck or throat. These symptoms may appear similar to some symptoms of panic attacks, including the closing up of the throat, lightheadedness and pressure in the head and neck. The irony is that a low dose of Zoloft ineffective for treating anxiety may still induce side-effects and, essentially, worsen some patients’ anxiety symptoms, whereas a higher dose could help with the anxiety but present more problems in terms of side-effects.

Zoloft may be causing your neck pain due to one of the potential side-effects of sertraline, namely involuntary jaw-clenching. The muscles in the jaw may freeze up, as may those in the neck, with patients having difficulties getting the muscles to relax even with massage and myofascial release. Tension in the jaw and the neck may then lead to neck pain and stiffness, along with headaches and referred pain in the arms and upper back.

The effects of this jaw-clenching can cause people with temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) disorder to experience a worsening of their symptoms, including right-sided or left-sided jaw pain only. 

Those who are advised to continue taking Zoloft despite connected neck pain and jaw clenching may then decide to begin using a dental night guard or mouth guard so as to not wear away enamel on the teeth. Other medications and supplements, such as magnesium citrate and phosphatidylcholine may be able to relax the tense jaw and relieve associated neck pain. Unfortunately, some patients report experiencing chronic jaw and neck pain when taking Zoloft which persists even after stopping taking the drug. This may be partly due to the development of the habit of jaw clenching and tensing with hope that treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy may address this issue.

If you are suffering from neck pain, headaches, or TMJ pain, whether you are taking Zoloft or not, our office specializes in treating these conditions.  Using chiropractic, acupuncture, and cold laser therapy, we help relieve your pain quickly and comfortably. 

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