Improper Or Uncomfortable Mattress
Do you have a lumpy old mattress that dips down in the middle? While this may seem comfortable, its time to toss it out! We spend about a third of our lives in bed sleeping, which is why it is crucial that you invest in the right type of mattress to help you prevent or at least manage your neck and shoulder pain. When your spine is not aligned properly because of your lumpy or sagging mattress, you are setting yourself up for neck and shoulder pain.
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.
Apply Balms And Ointments
Balms come in different types. Its important to determine which one is ideal for neck pain. Some can provide pain relief while others can increase circulation. Make sure to ask the counter staff about this when buying balms at a nearby drugstore.
Balms usually stimulate the heat on your skin, thus, providing mild comfort after massaging or rubbing the affected area.
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Use A Hot Compress Or Heating Pad
Sometimes 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 and ease neck pain is to boost blood circulation by applying a hot compress to the affected area. You should apply heat for up to 20 minutes around 10 to 15 minutes before going to bed.
The Right Mattress May Help
People with neck pain may wish to look for a mattress that offers full support to the entire spinal column without any sagging or pressure points.
It is also important to pick a mattress that is large enough to allow a person to move freely while they sleep.
A firm mattress may also be best for people with neck pain. However, they should make sure not to choose a mattress that is so firm it creates hard pressure points, especially at the hips or shoulders.
Not all causes of neck pain are preventable, but many are.
Here are a few ways to help prevent neck pain and a few habits to avoid.
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Sleeping On Your Stomach
This position is preferred to avoid as much as possible, especially if youve just eaten or experience back and neck pain. It adds pressure on your spine and arches your back, which can cause back pain.
Try adjusting your sleeping position by using pillows to support your body and fix your sleep posture. However, if you cant sleep any other way, it is best to prop your forehead slightly up on a thin pillow to keep your body somewhat aligned.
Sleeping Positions For Back And Neck Pain
Getting a good nights sleep can be tough with back or neck pain. Its avicious cycle. You need sleep to heal, but your back hurts so you cant sleep,so you cant heal, so your back still hurts and you cant sleep.
The non-restorative sleep that is typical when youre in pain preventsthe relaxation of your muscles and impedes the healing that normally occursduring sleep. During restful sleep, the heart and blood pressure slow, thebrain is able to release the hormones that stimulate tissue growth and repairblood vessels, the body makes more white blood cells and the immune system isboosted.
If sleeping well is that important to healing back pain and neck pain, how do you do it? Heres how to sleep when your back hurts.
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Sleeping On Your Back
Sleeping on your back helps maintain your spines natural curves. You can use a thinner pillow in this position than you would when sleeping on your side. Your head position should be only slightly raised so that its at a similar angle as when youre standing.
Create An Ergonomic Workplace
Many people work at a computer desk for eight hours each day. This can contribute to a stiff neck, as well as other ailments. Here are some ways to prevent a stiff neck at work:
- Adjust your chair into a comfortable position with your feet flat on the floor and your knees a bit lower than your hips.
- Use ergonomic posture while sitting, with your back straight and your arms level to the desk.
- Adjust your computer so that its at eye level.
- Use an ergonomic keyboard and mouse.
- Stand up to stretch and move every hour.
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How Neck Stiffness Develops During Sleep
Some ways that stiff neck can develop while sleeping include:
- Awkward angle. The head or neck might settle at an awkward angle for an extended period of time while sleeping, which can stretch and stress muscles, ligaments, and joints beyond their normal limits.
- Sudden movement. Perhaps from rolling over or reacting to a dream, sudden neck movements might occur while sleeping that can strain or sprain the neck.
- Preexisting injury. Some injuries that happen while awake, such as whiplash, may take many hours before pain and stiffness develop later while sleeping.
Most commonly, the root cause of a stiff neck is a neck strain, which could be due to a muscle strain or ligament sprain. Several other causes could exist, such as facet joint osteoarthritis or cervical degenerative disc disease.
How To Stop Neck Pain At Night
In some cases, simple behavioral modifications or over-the-counter medications may alleviate or reduce neck pain at night. For example, changing your pillow, sleeping in a different position, or taking anti-inflammatories can all be effective for relieving back pain. If muscle pain is keeping you up at night, try some of these at-home methods for getting neck pain relief:
- Practice good posture during the day
- Avoid excessive lifting or muscle overuse
- Limit your time looking down at the computer, phone, or desk
- Perform doctor-recommended stretches before bed and upon waking
- Use a supportive pillow under your neck if you are a side sleeper
- Try a thinner pillow if you are a back sleeper
Home Remedies For Neck Pain
If you wake up with a sore neck, there are several remedies you can try to help ease the pain. You likely dont need to see a doctor, especially if you dont have any other symptoms, and you havent had a sore neck for long. Here are some self-care options you can try:
- Apply ice or a cold pack to the sore part of your neck for 20 minutes at a time. This can help reduce inflammation in your neck muscles.
- If youve had pain for a day or more, apply a heat pack to the sore area for 20 minutes at a time. This can help to soothe and relax the muscles.
- Try over-the-counter painkillers, such as ibuprofen , naproxen , or acetaminophen .
- Do some gentle exercises, like walking or yoga. This can help keep the blood flowing to your neck. Dont stop moving altogether. Not moving can cause your muscles to tighten up.
To help prevent neck pain when you wake up, there are steps you can take to support your neck and reduce the strain on your neck muscles.
A couple of simple exercises can help keep your neck muscles strong and limber, which may reduce the risk of waking up with pain in your neck.
Pay Attention To Pillow Height
If neck pain is your problem, a flatter pillow may be the better option. In one study, higher pillows created more cranio-cervical pressure and a greater cervical angle, meaning your head isnât lined up with your spine. This can result in pain and stiffness if your neck stays at that angle all night.
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How To Sleep With A Stiff Neck And Shoulder Or Back
To avoid aggravating a sore shoulder, its a good idea to sleep either on your opposite side or your back. If youre on your back, you can try putting a pillow next to your sore shoulder to discourage yourself from rolling that direction in the middle of the night.
For back pain, you should avoid sleeping on your stomach. Sleeping on your stomach puts excess stress on your vertebrae. Some positions that you may find help relieve your pain include:
- sleeping on your back slightly reclined
- sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knees
- sleeping in the fetal position
- sleeping with a pillow between your knees
2015 study found that people with chronic neck pain are less likely to improve if they experience poor sleep quality. Making sure youre getting a good nights sleep is one of the best ways to heal from neck pain.
Ibuprofen may help reduce your pain if youre dealing with an acute issue. Make sure you dont take it on an empty stomach, dont exceed more than 1,200 milligrams in 1 day, and dont take it longer than 10 days unless approved by a doctor.
Some people find that heat and ice also helps them manage their pain. You can alternate between the two, depending on which provides more relief.
Gently stretching your neck before bed and when you first wake up may also help you manage your pain.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, the following stretches may help:
What Pillow Materials Are Best For Neck Pain
The best pillow for neck and shoulder pain is firm enough to hold the head at a healthy angle, but soft enough to alleviate pressure points. Most sleepers find success with either a memory foam, latex, buckwheat, or feather pillow, as these materials offer the best balance of support and pressure relief.
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Sleeping Pillow For Neck Support
Those of you who are looking for a little bit more support in a pillow and you are not in a position to go and buy all these different expensive pillows can use this easy solution; at least temporarily. Find or create a roll thats going to support you at the neck.
In the video above I cover how to create a simple sleeping pillow for neck support. Here are the simple steps:
- Roll up a hand-towel lengthwise.
- Slide the towel into the pillow case just above the bottom edge of the pillow.
- Test out the pillow during the day and try different towel densities/sizes until you find the one that feel just right. Youll be too tired to do this when youre ready for bed.
This is often a solution that I use if Im in a hotel room. I rarely like their pillows. Ill take the thinnest of the pillows, if Im choosing to sleep on my back, I create a little roll and slip it into the pillow case.; Often, I will just use the rolled towel alone.
For my husband who likes to sleep on his side, I use a pillow the thickness of his neck to shoulder length and place a rolled towel at the base of the pillow case.
Creating an ergonomic pillow for yourself whether youre lying on your back or on your side to provide the support you need for your neck is this easy.
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Why Is It Important To Choose The Right Pillow And Mattress
The only way you can maintain a good posture even while sleeping depends purely on where and what you sleep on. Your bed and your pillow will speak of that. It is very important to use the right pillow and the right mattress to get the correct and healthy sleeping position. A pillow too hard or a pillow too soft can strain your neck and back muscles. A sinking mattress will add to your suffering.
There are several cervical pillows and mattresses with ergonomic design. Depending on your requirement, you must choose the right pillow and mattress for maximum comfort.
So you see, a sore neck after sleeping is totally avoidable. It only takes a bit of care and some healthy lifestyle decisions. So ditch that sagging bed, buy yourself a good pillow and adopt a balanced sleeping position. Give your neck some much-needed attention. However, in the case of acute pain or if the pain refuses to subside, then it is best to consult the doctor.
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Can Neck Pain Be Treated Without Surgery Click Here To Read Our Guide
Neck sprains are often confused for neck strains, but they are a bit different. Strains are often caused by poor posture , lifting something thats too heavy, or repetitive motions. A neck sprain occurs when a ligament or muscle in the neck is overly stretched. This injury may occur without any obvious reason, but a sudden impact causing the neck to extend beyond its normal range and then snap back is usually the cause. You may not experience the symptoms immediately: they usually take a day or two to present themselves.
A neck injury is likely to cause stiffness that makes moving the neck painful. This may also cause the back of the head, shoulders, and upper back to hurt. You may also experience dizziness, fatigue, ringing in the ears, and occasional numbness in the hands and arms. Other symptoms include muscle spasms, tingling or weakness in the arms, and increased irritability. If youre suffering from chronic, severe painespecially accompanied by pain radiating down your legs and arms, you should immediately seek medical attention.
Neck pain is often attributed to sleeping wrong, so how can you sleep right?
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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Stay Cool And Free From Neck Pain All Night Long With The Uniquely Designed Cervical Memory Foam Pillow
This cervical pillow for neck pain has an ergonomic design that evenly contours to the unique curve of your head, neck, and shouldersto align the spine properly and keep you sleeping healthy and soundly. It specifically targets neck, shoulder and back aches and pains, rejuvenating your body as you sleep. The pillow features therapeutic, pressure-relieving memory foam that is hypoallergenic. It provides lasting support for back and side sleepers while helping to keep your sleeping area fresh and cool.
The advantages of using this Orthopedic Cervical Memory Foam Pillow:
- Relieves neck, shoulder and back pain
- Eases migraines or tension headaches
- Allows you to breathe more freely
- Prevents snoring
- Retains contours
- Creates a cool sleep environment
With the hole design, the pillow will mold to the shape of your head, relieving head pressure and stabilizing the sleeping posture. Moreover, it wont trap heat. Two different contour heights provide customizable comfort, allowing you to lift your head to the proper position while you sleep on your back or side. Its time to transform your sleeping life!