Most cases of a stiff neck and nausea are caused by stress and anxiety. When a person is under stress, he may slump or clench his shoulders while awake, and toss and turn or grind his teeth in his sleep — or be unable to sleep — all of which can lead to a stiff neck. If he then skips breakfast, or rushes through a fast food meal for lunch, he may experience nausea. Nervousness in general may cause him to be unable to eat, and he may then become nauseous soon afterward.
Drugs taken for any reason can cause an upset stomach, so if a person takes a drug to ease stress, anxiety, depression, or any other malady, it may cause nausea. Alcohol and excess caffeine, both of which people often seek out during times of stress, can cause an upset stomach and overactive nerves as well, which may lead to clenched shoulders and a stiff neck. Holding the head and neck in one position for a long period of time, as people do when slumped over a desk or computer, can also cause pain and stiffness.
Although stress and anxiety are the major causes of a stiff neck and nausea, both could be caused by many other illnesses that should be considered. A simple cold or flu can cause both symptoms. If a severe headache accompanies the other symptoms, it may be categorized as a migraine. If a high fever is present, meningitis is a possibility. Brain tumors, cancer and other serious and even life-threatening illnesses can also be the cause. In these cases, however, additional symptoms are normally present. Therefore, it’s important for individuals to pay attention to any and all symptoms and report them to a medical professional.
When suffering with a stiff neck and nausea, the first question for a person to ask is how long the symptoms have been present. If stress, anxiety or depression may be the cause, steps should be taken to ease the condition so it doesn’t become chronic and lead to additional, more serious problems. The solution may be as simple as buying a new pillow that cradles the neck for a more comfortable sleep, allowing more time for meals so hunger doesn’t lead to stomach upset, and adding periods of relaxation to the day. If the symptoms persist, worsen or become acute, individuals may want to visit a healthcare professional.