Don’t Let Neck Pain Rob You Of Quality Sleep
Waking up with a stiff neck from sleep or just trying to sleep with existing neck pain can be uncomfortable, stressful, and distressing. Checking to make sure you are sleeping with a posture that supports your spine and doesn’t strain it as well as improving your before-bed routine can help make sure you get a good night’s sleep.
Did you find this article on how to sleep with neck pain helpful? Be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more informative articles on all things spinal health.
Are you thinking about visiting a chiropractor for your neck pain? Contact us today with questions or to schedule an appointment!
Shower Or Soak With Bath Salts
Water may do wonders for your neck pain from sleeping wrong. When taking a shower, run lukewarm or hot water over your neck and head for about five minutes. Remember to keep your neck straight during the shower.
Alternatively, you can also soak in a warm bath with Epsom salt. This can improve circulation and relieve tension in your neck muscles.
What Is The Best Pillow For Side Sleepers With Neck Pain
Side sleepers often sleep best with a thick pillow that bridges the gap between their neck and the mattressa gap widened by their shoulders. A good pillow for a side sleeper should be around 3 to 5 inches thick.
You might want also want to consider a memory foam pillow for side sleeping if you suffer from neck pain. Memory foam is one of the best materials for relieving pain and pressure points.
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Best Sleeping Positions For People With Neck Pain
When you curl up under the blanket at night, you tend to settle into your favorite sleeping position without thinking much about it. But, do you really think that one position is better than the other? You are spending one-third of your life sleeping, and if you sleep in the wrong position, there is no doubt that it negatively affects your neck and spine.
Back Sleeping Eases Pressure
Sleeping on the back evenly distributes your weight and maintains the spines natural curve, so your neck and shoulders arent compressed. Tucking a pillow or rolled towel under your knees promotes a neutral spine alignment and additionally prevents lower back pain.
Try back sleeping with your arms under your head because it minimizes pressure on your shoulder muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Another way to reduce rotator cuff pain is by placing a small pillow or a rolled-up hand towel between your shoulder blades when sleeping.
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Why Do I Have Neck Pain
In the last century, weve been sitting substantially more than we ever have in our documented human history. Due to technology, i.e., watching TV, sitting in front of a computer, using smartphones, weve adapted our postures to our devices as opposed to the other way around.
Sitting in a poor working posture for prolonged periods of time is like pulling your finger back on full stretch then holding in there. Then pulling some more, more, and more eventually youll stop because its going to hurt!
Is your finger broken or damaged? No. Other than being a little sore and achy for the few seconds after you let go, your finger is fine!
Do you ever notice your neck muscles getting tight, sore, knotted, bound-up whatever adjective you want to use after a long day on the job? Your neck is not tight because your neck is weak, rather youre feeling the result of cumulative stress on the neck muscles.
Sure, you get your spouse to rub out the stress in your neck muscles, but how long does that last? When does it come back? If youre not changing your daily postural habits, incorporating more movement and less sedentary positions, it will be a continuous cycle with no solution in sight.
Our daily postural habits are like cranking back on that finger on a daily basis. At some point, youre going to feel the effects of repetitive strain.
Your neck is not weak, its simply exhausted!
But what if I dont have neck pain during the day, only at night?
Match Your Pillow Height With Your Sleeping Position
While there is no single pillow height that works best for all sleepers, you want a pillow that supports the natural curve of your neck. To help ease the stress on your neck, follow these guidelines for choosing the correct pillow based on your preferred sleeping position:
- Back Sleepers may benefit from a thin pillow. Test if a pillow is right for you by lying down on the pillow and having a family member or friend take a picture of the curve of your neck. Ideally, the curve of your neck will look similar to when you’re standing with good posture .
- Side Sleepers typically need a thicker pillow than back sleepers to ensure the neck and head are positioned in the middle of the shoulders. Your height and the width of your shoulders will help determine the kind of pillow you ought to buyso if youre petite you will need a slimmer pillow than if youre broad-shouldered.
If youre a back or side sleeper, you may also benefit from placing a small roll-shaped pillow under your neck for additional supportor you can simply use a rolled-up towel.
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The Role Of Pillow In Maintaining Your Spinal Alignment
Pillows trace their roots to ancient Mesopotamia, where the affluent families used them to prevent bugs from crawling inside the ears. However, the pillows back then did not feel as comfortable because they used stone to make them. Other civilizations soon picked up the trend but used different materials like porcelain, bronze, bamboo, cotton, and straw. Fast forward to the present day, and you can now find pillows suited for different types of sleepers.
Like in the old days, pillows help you get a good nights rest by supporting your head and neck. They also ensure that your neck muscles stay relaxed even when you turn from side to side.
Because each person has varying sleeping positions and pre-existing health conditions, finding the right kind of pillow to not get upper neck pain requires a bit of technical know-how. Here are some tips you can use when you shop for yours:
- Make sure you know your sleeping position because it can tell you what sort of pillow might work better for you.
- Extra firm pillows for side sleepers
- Medium firmness for those who sleep on their backs
- Pillows made from a combination of materials for people who sleep in various positions
How To Get Rid Of Neck Pain From Sleeping Wrong: Treatment And Prevention
You roll over in bed and feel the excruciating twinge in your neck.
Youve slept wrongagain.
Waking up with a sore neck is the worst way to start the day. But what can you do?
If youre wondering how to get rid of neck pain from sleeping wrong, youve come to the right place.
Keep reading to learn why you might be waking up with a sore neck and your treatment and prevention options to help you wake up pain-free.
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How To Sleep On Your Back With Neck Pain
Back sleepers may find relief from neck pain by adjusting their position with a few pillows. A small pillow at the base of the neck can keep the head in a neutral position, while placing a pillow beneath the knees or thighs can keep the muscles along the spine flat and relax muscles in the neck.
Another consideration for back sleepers is the placement of their hands during sleep. Research suggests that certain hand positions can activate muscles in the upper back and neck, causing the body to rotate and move the spine out of proper alignment. Back sleeping with the hands to the side or on the chest may reduce neck and back pain.
Neck Pain Beyond Sleeping Position
Research suggests that not just sleep position, but sleep itself, can play a role in musculoskeletal pain, including neck and shoulder pain.
In one study, researchers compared musculoskeletal pain in 4,140 healthy men and women with and without sleeping problems. Sleeping problems included difficulty falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, waking early in the mornings, and non-restorative sleep. They found that people who reported moderate to severe problems in at least three of these four categories were significantly more likely to develop chronic musculoskeletal pain after one year than those who reported little or no problem with sleep.
One possible explanation is that sleep disturbances disrupt the muscle relaxation and healing that normally occur during sleep. Additionally, it is well established that pain can disrupt sleep, contributing to a vicious cycle of pain disrupting sleep, and sleep problems contributing to pain.
If, despite switching up your pillow and sleeping position, you still cant get rid of your neck pain, or if your neck pain is caused by an injury or chronic condition like arthritis then definitely consider getting checked by a qualified healthcare professional.
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What Is The Best Pillow Positioning For Neck Pain
Sleep experts recommend either back or side sleeping if you suffer from neck pain. Sleeping on your stomach causes your head to bend at a sharp angle and arches your spine, which puts unwanted pressure on your neck. Strict stomach sleepers should choose a pillow with a low loft to minimize pressure.
For best results, back and side sleepers should ensure that their head, neck, and top of the spine form a straight line. Sleeping with a pillow thats too high or too low can cause aches and pains. Likewise, sleeping with your head rolled to one side or the other is also likely to cause neck pain.
Picking The Right Pillow
Remember memory foam when youre pillow shopping. The sponge-like material contours to your body, combining the comfort you crave with ample support for your head and neck, says Dr. Bang.
Memory foam pillows come in multiple forms, with the top three being contoured, shredded and block . At that point, it comes down to personal preference, says Dr. Bang.
As for other options:
- Feather pillows offer little in the way of through-the-night support for your head and neck. They dont hold their shape, notes Dr. Bang. By morning, theyre smushed and theres almost nothing under your head.
- Synthetic fill pillows tend to break down quickly, says Dr. Bang: They lose their fluff to the point where youre not getting the support you really need. Theyre just not that durable.
Whatever choice you make, though, watch to make sure the pillow maintains its shape and support. Memory foam pillows can last up to three years.
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Address Your Daily Postural Habits
More important than what happens at night is what happens during the day, as postural stressors during the day can dramatically affect your nighttime.
- Move more often. Simply put, making it a point to move and frequently change positions throughout the day to avoid negative effects associated with prolonged poor postures and sedentarism can make all the difference between suffering with neck pain or not.
- Address your workplace environment. Modify your workspace around you, not the other way around. Its critical to ensure your computer screen is at eye level, your arms rest on your desk just above waist level when using a keyboard and mouse, and your lower back is supported by your desk chair or added lumbar support. Laptops need extra consideration especially when using them for prolonged periods of time. Neglecting workplace ergonomics draws your postural habits into compromising positions in order to see the screen. Here are some tips to improve your workspace:
- Make use of a standing or convertible desk.
- Set an alarm on your phone to alert you to get up and move every 30 minutes.
- Use a headset.
Strengthen Your Neck And Upper Body Muscles
Stretching your neck muscles can help decrease neck pain in general, which can make dozing off easier. To ward off neck pain, try gently turning your neck from left to right while keeping your chin level and holding for about 20 seconds, four times a week, says Shah.
Incorporating regular stretches and strengthening exercises that target your upper body throughout the week could also lead to long-term reductions in pain.
A combination of strength exercises, such as lifting dumbbells, and aerobic movement, such as walking or running, will put one’s back and neck in optimal alignment, Shah adds. Any activity that increases blood flow to all of the muscles can help with back and neck discomfort.
Always consult with a physical therapist or healthcare professional to make sure these types of movements are safe for you before trying them. And if any stretch or exercise causes sharp or electric pain, stop doing it and check in with a doctor.
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Best Way To Sleep With Neck Pain
Your spine naturally arches in three places. It curves forward at your neck and lower back. It curves the other way in your upper back. Setting up your bed to best maintain these natural curves can help you minimize neck or back pain.
Many people find that using a memory foam helps them manage their neck pain. A 2019 study found that combining a viscoelastic polyurethane memory foam pillow with chiropractic treatment was more effective than chiropractic treatment alone.
You can also try using a soft feather pillow that forms to your head or a pillow with cervical support.
If you sleep on your back:
- Use a thin pillow. A thin pillow lets you keep your upper spine in its natural position with a slight forward curve.
- Try a cervical pillow. A cervical pillow supports your neck and head to keep them in a neutral position.
- Use a supportive mattress. If your mattress is too soft, you may find that you sink into it and your back rounds.
When sleeping on your side:
- Avoid overly high pillows. Ideally, your pillow should be a height that keeps your ears stacked vertically over each other. If your pillow is too high or low, your neck will bend and you may develop pain over time.
- Keep chin neutral. Try to avoid tucking your chin if youre sleeping in the fetal position. Tucking your chin positions your head forward.
- Try putting a pillow between your knees. Putting a pillow between your knees helps keep your lower spine in alignment.
Choose A Supportive Pillow
Your pillow should ease stress on the neck. An individual may need to try a number of pillows to find one that works well for their preferred sleep position. Side sleepers will usually need a thicker pillow to ensure the head and neck are properly supported. Some people find that feather pillows and memory foam pillows offer good support. Others favor water-filled pillows and buckwheat filled pillows. If using two pillows, stagger them slightly so the top pillow supports the neck and the bottom pillow supports the shoulders. Pillows may need to be replaced every year or two since many tend to compact over time.
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How To Transition Into A Pillowless Sleep
Once you confirm that you sleep on your stomach, you can readily shift to a pillowless sleep. However, it may take some time to get used to the new setup, so we suggest doing the following:
- Start by making small changes Instead of immediately getting rid of your pillow, you can use a folded blanket until your body adapts to the beds flat surface.
- Place your pillow in other parts of the bed You can also put the pillow between your hips to help straighten your spine while you lay on the bed.
- Switch to a better mattress Having a bed that works well with your body type and sleeping style can help you quickly transition to a pillowless sleep.
Why Your Neck Hurts When You Wake Upand What To Do About It
Youve been sleeping pretty much every night since, oh, your entire life . Dont you just hate it when you wake up with back or neck pain? You might think, How did I mess up laying down, closing my eyes and doing nothing?
Dont worry, you didnt do anything wrong. You can wake up with a stiff neck after sleeping for a few reasons. Whats most encouraging is that there are a few simple fixes that can prevent you from getting neck pain from sleeping, and some actions you can take to relieve any pain you do have.
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Choose A Supportive Mattress
A supportive mattress can go a long way in keeping you comfortable and in proper alignment while you sleep. The kind of support you need from a mattress has a lot to do with your body type and your sleeping position.
|Stomach or Back||Firm|
Side sleepers need softer mattresses that contour to their body to alleviate pressure in the hips and shoulders, while back and stomach sleepers need a more firm mattress to keep their spine aligned.