If you are missing a good night’s sleep because of neck pain, you are not alone. Several factors that can contribute to neck strain such as poor posture or degenerative disc disease. Sometimes, the cause of neck pain is not so obvious. Rotator cuff tendinitis, as well as your sleep position, can also result in neck pain.
The researchers of a study that was printed in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science last June 29, 2017, hypothesized whether muscle usage varied depending on sleeping position. They tested three sleep positions: supine (face up) with both on the chest or BHC, dominant hand on the forehead, and supine with both hands at their side. The upper trapezius and scalene muscles experienced significantly greater activity with the dominant hand on the forehead position.
The Kansas City Neurologists at the Rowe Neurology Institute (Kansas) also studied sleep position and neck pain. The doctors conducted an electronic medical records review via their database. According to their research, eighty-one per cent of patients that presented with headache pain also had a pinched nerve in their neck. The majority of these patients slept on their side or abdomen due to increased upper airway resistance during sleep, such as sleep apnea.
What Happens When You Sleep the Wrong Way?
We spend about a third of our lives in bed sleeping, which is why it is important that you invest in the right type of pillow and mattress to help you prevent or at least manage any neck and shoulder pain. A typical reason we experience a stiff neck when we awake is that our neck stays bent or twisted for a long time during the night. Perhaps, your pillow is not providing enough head and neck support. When the spine is not in a neutral position, pain can result.
Many people make the mistake of not propping their head up when they are watching TV or are reading in bed. Or they have placed too many pillows to the point that their head is pushed forward in an unnatural position. This can also lead to neck pain and stiffness.
How to Eliminate Neck Pain?
When you fall asleep without proper spinal support, you can expect that you’ll feel discomfort the following day due to the unnatural strain on your neck muscles. Eventually, you may find yourself asking yourself “how to get rid of neck pain from sleeping wrong?”
- Let your neck rest
Your head weighs around 11 lbs. That’s a lot of weight for your neck to be holding up. Try to rest your neck lying down in a neutral position for a few minutes when you can.
- Use warm compress
Sometimes the neck stiffness is caused by too much strain on the neck muscles while we sleep. This can cause blood flow to be restricted. One of the best ways to relieve stiff muscles by boosting blood circulation is to apply a warm compress to the affected area. However, it is important that you apply the warm compress for a few minutes since too much heat can cause inflammation.
- Get a massage
Another possible remedy for alleviating the stiffness in your neck is to have someone massage the affected muscle for you. Symptoms may abate as the blood circulation increases and the muscles begin to stretch.
If you are looking for pain relief from the stiffness in your neck, you might do some light stretching to ease the pain away. Poor posture is one of the most common culprits to having a crick in the neck. Whether you are hunched over your computer or reading in bed without adequate support. Among the stretches that you can do include rolling your shoulders backwards and down 10 times. You can also try squeezing your shoulder blades together 10 times. Another easy stretch is to bring your ear to your shoulder 10 times on both sides While in the car, try pushing your head back into your car’s headrest, and hold this pose for 30 seconds. All of these stretches can help you avoid having a stiff neck. You can also try yoga. The child’s pose position is a common beginner’s yoga pose and helps stretch your spinal column.
- Consider your sleeping position
Your sleep positions are also important when it comes to relieving neck pain. Avoid sleeping on your stomach as this will only make you twist your head to one side which can cause undue strain on the muscles. This position hurts your entire spinal column since your stomach is sinking into your bed. This puts unnecessary pressure on your back. A better option would be to sleep on your back or your side.
- Choose the right type of pillow
Are you wondering how to get rid of neck pain from sleeping wrong? Well, it pays to invest in the right pillow for your particular sleeping position. Back sleepers should invest on a rounded pillow that will provide your head with adequate support for the neck. Memory foam pillows are ideal for both back and side sleepers because they follow the contours of your head and neck and prevent your head from falling out of place. Shredded foam pillows can provide you with enough firmness whether you are sleeping on your side or back which reduce your risk of having neck pain in the morning. Buckwheat pillows are common in Japan. These pillows are filled with the hulls that encase buckwheat seeds. The pillows are contour to your head neck while providing firmer support
- Consult your doctor
Not all neck pain from sleeping will disappear on its own. There are instances when seeking medical help is especially advised when you are dealing with severe neck pain. Other possible causes of neck pain include osteoarthritis, whiplash, or even degenerative joint disease. In cases of acute torticollis, the neck muscles spasm and twist to one side. The pain is severe, and medical treatment is often sought.
- Ice therapy
Warm compress may be your go-to solution when you are dealing with neck stiffness but using a cold compress on the affected muscles can also help with the swelling. Place the cold compress on the stiff muscles for 10 to 20 minutes then remove afterwards. Make sure that you do not place ice directly on your skin as this can cause burning.
- Assessing pain
Assess your pain after you have tried these remedies to determine if there is any improvement in your condition. If there is no improvement or you experience burning pain or sensation travelling up and down your neck, it may be best to call your doctor.
- Over-the-counter medications
Taking over-the-counter medications can be helpful in reducing the inflammation in your muscles. This is also effective when you are dealing with neck pain and headaches because of their anti-inflammatory properties.
- Water therapy
That crick on your neck can be caused by staying in an abnormal position for hours which can lead to muscle strain, leading to muscle spasms, and stiffness. The facet joints are found in each pair of neck vertebrae allow movement. If these joints and the surrounding, ligaments strained, they can spasm and cause pain This is also referred to as the facet syndrome If this is the case, undergoing water therapy may help you reduce the stress, and subsequent pain Start by standing a warm a shower while doing some neck and shoulder stretches. The warm temperature can help ease the swelling in your muscles, while your movements can spur more blood flowing in your system.
- Take frequent breaks
For those who have jobs that keep us tied to our desk, tapping away in our computer, which leaves us with poor spinal alignment. If you want to prevent neck and back pain, stand and stretch your spine and muscles every 30 minutes.
- Mattresses matter
When your spine is not aligned properly, poor sleep as well, as back and neck pain, can result. Investing in a mattress that suits any medical needs as well as providing proper support can be a game-changer. A memory foam mattress that protects your joints while supporting your spine can resolve pain and lead you to restorative sleep.
Tips on How to Prevent Neck Pain
Aside from learning how to get rid of neck pain from sleeping wrong, it would be better if you also knew how to prevent neck pain in the first place. Fortunately, there are several tips that you can follow to keep your neck in a neutral position to reduce your risk of having that crick on your neck. Here are a few that you should keep in mind:
- Limit your smartphone usage
The more you look down on your smartphone, the more strain you are putting on your neck muscles. If you are using your phone for business, make sure that you keep it at eye level or use headphones or earbuds.
- Go ergonomic in your workplace
Whether it is at your home office or company workplace, you should consider making your work environment ergonomically friendly. You can start by adjusting your chair until you find a comfortable position with your feet pressed down on the floor with your knees a bit lower than your hips. You should adjust your computer so that it is at eye level. Invest on an ergonomic mouse and keyboard too to minimize the strain in your wrists and arms. If you want to go a step further, invest in a height-adjustable desk. Remember that neck pain can also be triggered by other ailments such as rotator cuff tendonitis or a herniated disc which may be prevented by paying attention to your posture and frequent stretching.
- Reduce stress
Stress is also a culprit when it comes to neck pain. The muscles tense up when we experience stress. This can lead to neck pain as well as stiffness which can be easily avoided if you handle stress properly. There are several ways in which you can ease the tension starting with listening to some relaxing music, taking a walk or meditating. The goal here is to ease your mind This can lead to less muscle tension.
- Adjust your sleep environment
Changing your sleeping habits is highly recommended as well as adjusting your sleep environment to a more comfortable and relaxed area. You can start by investing in a good mattress.. Sleeping on a sagging mattress can put a strain on your spine which can also affect your neck muscles too. Invest on a good pillow too, for added neck support. There are several mattresses available in the market today.
Exercising regularly has been found to be effective in reducing your risk of neck pain. This is because you are strengthening your muscles and improving blood flow too. Another plus to working out is that you will also learn good posture which can also reduce the discomfort that you are feeling when you sleep.
Dealing with neck stiffness or excruciating pain when you wake up is no laughing matter. There are several ways to deal with both acute and chronic neck pain. Whether you are trying to prevent it or treating that crick on your neck, it is essential that you exercise caution to avoid making your condition worse.