Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Women's Health

Font Size

Is Stress Making You Ache?

WebMD Feature from "Redbook" Magazine

By Janis Graham

Redbook Magazine Logo

Why your whole body suffers when you're tense; plus, how to ease the pain.

Stress hurts: Women who lead demanding lives are more than twice as likely to suffer from aches and pains as women with less hectic lives, according to a recent study. "When stressed, your body produces hormones that increase muscle tension and pain sensitivity," says Jay Winner, M.D., author of Stress Management Made Simple. You're likely familiar with the dreaded tension headache, but we've uncovered four more spots where women tend to feel stress — and we've got tips for targeted relief.

Your neck and shoulders

Your face and jaw

  • How stress strikes: Your jaw feels tender and tight; the pain is worse when you chew. "Many people respond to tension by unknowingly clenching their jaws or grinding their teeth during sleep," says Penny Tenzer, M.D., an associate professor at the University of Miami.
  • What to do: See your dentist to find out if grinding is the culprit. If it is, you can be fitted for a plastic mouthpiece that you wear every night while you sleep to keep you from grinding and putting pressure on your jaw. Also, practice keeping jaw muscles loose, with teeth slightly apart and your tongue curled behind your upper teeth.

Your lower back

  • How stress strikes: The ache centers on the small of your back and gets worse when you're in certain positions. One often overlooked cause: traffic. "Your whole body is tense, and sitting in one position for a long period of time puts added strain on overworked muscles," says Tenzer.
  • What to do: Drivers who regularly use a lumbar support pillow, which helps to decrease pressure on your lower back, are almost half as likely to have low back pain as those who don't, according to a Harvard University study. Adjusting the angle of your car's seat and your office chair to greater than 91 degrees can also help.


Your stomach

  • How stress strikes: You have abdominal cramps. You may also suffer from diarrhea and/or constipation as well as a feeling that you haven't finished a bowel movement. These symptoms signal irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which can come and go depending on your stress levels. IBS is twice as common in women as in men.
  • What to do: Large meals that are high in fat may trigger cramping and diarrhea, so try to eat smaller portions of healthy foods at regular intervals. Drink six to eight glasses of water each day and take a daily soluble fiber supplement, such as Citrucel or Metamucil, to keep stools soft and easy to pass.


Today on WebMD

hands on abdomen
Test your knowledge.
womans hand on abdomen
Are you ready for baby?
birth control pills
Learn about your options.
Is it menopause or something else?
woman in bathtub
bp app on smartwatch and phone
estrogen gene

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Blood pressure check
hot water bottle on stomach
Attractive young woman standing in front of mirror