Stress is believed to be a non-specific element in disease production. It can be entirely physical in nature as in injury and repetitive motion strain, or purely psychological as in repressed feelings. More often than not there is a combination present that results in individual adaptations.
Stress causes muscles to contract. If that contraction is sustained for a long time, the tissues shorten and tighten decreasing circulation to the area. Pain results from a decrease in oxygen and nutrients and the retention of metabolic waste.
Massage and bodywork can be helpful in breaking the soft tissue response cycle because of the effect on circulation and the relaxation of muscle tissues.