Thursday, August 11, 2022

How To Sleep With Neck And Shoulder Pain

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So now we know the what of neck pain from sleeping. What about the how?

Generally when you wake up with neck pain, there are one or two issues at play here. Either your pillow isnt right for you, the position in which you sleep is aggravating your neck, or both.

You might think that a hard pillow can hurt your neck, but its usually a pillow thats too soft that makes you wake up with neck pain. Just like you need to keep your cervical spine aligned during the day to avoid overly taxing your muscles and ligaments, you need to do the same at night. Its harder, though you can make a conscious effort in daylight, but how can you control your posture when youre asleep?

Your pillow is the answer. A nice, firm pillow will keep your spine in a straight line from your atlas down to your coccyx . Any deviation from straight runs the risk of torticollis, so avoid it by making sure your pillow is right.

Your pillow or your sleeping position could be the culprit.

The way you sleep can also have a profound effect on the way you wake upready to face the day or ready to crawl back under the covers and hide from your neck pain. The best sleeping position for neck pain is usually on the back.

Back sleeping may not be right for youit can aggravate sleep apnea, for example. In that case, sleeping on your side is the next best thing. Try to avoid stomach sleeping it can put pressure on nerves that start in your neck, leading to further neck pain or radiculopathy .

Follow A Neck Exercise Regime

Simple stretches help ease the pressure off the stiffed neck. The following exercises are worth a try:

  • Place one of your hands on the side of the neck. Softly push the hand against the neck. Rotate your head in all directions for at least five to ten seconds. Now, place your hand on the other side of the neck and repeat the same exercise.
  • Push your head back in a way that your chin points towards the ceiling. After this, return to the neutral position.
  • Bend your head in a way that your chin touches your chest. As you perform this exercise, make sure your shoulders are relaxed. Maintain this position for twenty seconds, and then, repeat.
  • Lie straight. Bend your knees while supporting your neck and head by keeping a pillow underneath. Now, move your head as if youre nodding. Hold this position for ten seconds. Relax and repeat this exercise ten times.

Since these stretches cause your neck to slightly move in circular motions, it will help rejuvenate your neck muscles while enhancing the blood flow throughout the tissue. This will provide immediate comfort to the neck.

If all this doesnt treat the neck pain because youre having pain on a consistent basis, consult a chiropractor for further advice. A chiropractor will check your X-rays and will suggest a treatment that provides permanent relief from neck pain caused by sleeping the wrong way.

Three Tips On How To Sleep With A Stiff Neck And Shoulder

The healing value of a good nights sleep cant be overstated. However, figuring out how to sleep well with a stiff neck and shoulder can be a challenge.

Stiffness and pain are symptoms that often occur in both the neck and shoulders. One reason is that these body structures are connected by both nerves and muscles. Another is that theyre both heavily involved in normal daily activities, ranging from typing to reaching up to grab an object above your head. A physical therapist can offer tips to help you figure out how to sleep comfortably with a stiff neck and shoulder. Additionally, these specialists can help treat many common causes of neck pain and shoulder pain.

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Apply A Heating Pad On The Neck

Heat application is one of the traditional yet effective remedies to get rid of neck pain as it reduces neck stiffness caused by sleeping the wrong way.

While there are various methods to apply heat on the affected area, one of them is to use a hot water bottle. To begin, pour hot water into the hot water bottle. Make sure the water doesnt leak from the bottle. Now, apply the hot compress on the neck for at least ten minutes or till the pain slowly vanishes.

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What Pillow Materials Are Best For Neck Pain

10 Home Remedies For Neck Pain That Give Quick Relief

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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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.

When Should I See A Doctor For Shoulder Discomfort

Shoulder pain that interferes with everyday activities or persists after a few weeks may need attention from a doctor. If you have persistent or severe shoulder pain, OrthoBethesda can help. Our staff specializes in a wide range of musculoskeletal disorders. Contact us today by booking an appointment online or calling our office at .

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Settling On The Right Pillow

Each pillow has its pros and cons. There isnt one type of pillow that will satisfy everyones needs, Dr. Bang emphasizes. But these guidelines are grounded in research and can help you find a pillow thats right for you. Overall, trying to keep your posture in check during the day and choosing a pillow that supports your neck properly at night should help you sleep more soundly and pain-free. If you continue to have problems, make sure you make an appointment with your chiropractor.

Pinched Nerve From Sleeping On Your Arm

Best Sleeping Position for Neck Pain, Pinched Nerves, & Arm Pain.

The best way to avoid a pinched nerve in your arm is to sleep on your back with your arms straight out to the sides. When the arms are straight, the nerves are straight, too. This means that theyre less likely to be compressed. But for many of us, its hard not to toss and turn and bend our arms when we sleep. So heres what you can do:

  • If youre a side sleeper, roll over and sleep on the other side. If both your shoulders or arms are affected, try sleeping on your back.
  • If you wake up with wrist pain, chances are youre suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. You can purchase a wrist brace to keep your wrist straight while you sleep.
  • Stretch before bed.

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Choose The Right Pillow

When it comes to sleeping with neck pain or sleeping with shoulder pain, having the right pillow is essential. Its time to throw away the flat pillow youve had for years and invest in one that caters to your needs. Having a supportive pillow is what is going to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.

Without the right support, you could be putting additional stress on your neck and ultimately make the problem worse. The right pillow will help keep your spine aligned and your neck in a comfortable position. Both the shape and the material of the pillow matter. Most of this comes down to personal preferences and needs if youre allergic to feathers, try a memory foam option.

What is in your pillow is up to you, though there are some pillow shapes that solve the age-long question: how can I sleep with neck pain?

  • Travel neck pillow: As the name suggests, these horseshoe-shaped pillows are the best option when you need to sleep but cant lay down. This pillow shape is designed to support your neck without letting your head curve towards your chest or shoulders. You can thank your travel pillows for saving you from a stiff neck!
  • Cervical pillow: Cervical pillows are rounded to support your head and neck and save you from both neck and shoulder pain by keeping your spine aligned. There are some variations in the curves by the pillow. For example, some are flat under your head to support the curve or your neck, while others are contoured to focus on alignment.

Best Sleeping Positions For Neck And Shoulder Pain

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Our body is complex machinery of integrated units which work in tandem to produce the appropriate body movements. However, there are situations when such body parts do not function accordingly and the system goes wrong. Not only does the body functioning goes wrong, at times such wrong dis-coordinated moves can even be quite painful. The human neck and shoulder region is a complex area which houses various critical yet crucial anatomical structures.

However, this crucial area of the human body is also very sensitive and prone to various risks such as the risk of injury, pain, restricted movement, and degenerative conditions. While various causes of neck and shoulder pain, especially those related to wear and tear of tissues around the area or other factors, are not under human control, there are certainly various tactics and strategies which can avoid the risk of pain or at least aggravating such pain around the neck and shoulder region.

One of the primary critical factors related to neck and shoulder pain is the way we sleep and our sleeping postures. Being aware of the best sleeping positions for avoiding the risk of neck and shoulder pain would be the wisest piece of information.

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Can My Mattress Affect My Sleep

If youve been talking to people about your stiff neck from sleeping, youve probably heard plenty of advice about getting a different mattress. Most people automatically associate a faulty mattress with neck pain. There is some truth to that, but not as much as many people think. The safety and comfort of your neck, while you sleep, have much more to do with your pillow than your mattress.

But, if youve switched out your pillow to fit your needs and sleeping position and youre still uncomfortable, you can look into changing your mattress. Its important to make sure you have a mattress that is firm enough.

If your mattress is over ten years old, its a good rule of thumb to get a new one. Mattresses can flatten out a bit over time, and become misshapen. If you dont have the budget for a new mattress, try flipping your current one over, if possible. Some mattresses cant be flipped. If yours does, you should do it periodically, so it doesnt lose its shape on one side.

How To Prevent Neck And Shoulder Pain While You Sleep


Neck and shoulder pain can make it hard to fall and stay asleep. It can also cause you to experience numbness in your arms and hands, says Tozer.

Here’s how to prevent neck and shoulder painand wrestling with a pillow as you attempt to find a comfortable sleeping positionand improve the quality of your sleep.

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Why Do I Always Have A Stiff Neck And Shoulder

Have you ever wondered why you wake up every morning with a stiff neck and/or shoulder? Well, there are a number of different reasons as to why this might be. Waking up with a stiff neck or shoulder pain can ruin the rest of your day.

Below we have outlined some of the main reasons to why you may experience a stiff neck and shoulder pain:

  • Sleeping in the wrong position

A lot of people have a go-to sleeping position. However, if your neck is twisted or bent in a certain way, this can cause a stiff neck.

  • Using the wrong pillow

Pillows are another reason why adults suffer from stiff necks and shoulder problems. Some pillows are harder than others. Generally, there are different types of pillows based on whether you sleep on your front, back or side. Finding a good pillow can put you one step closer to easing your neck problems.

Side Sleeping With Arms Out

Side sleeping is the most commonly reported sleep position. Its the second-best position for spine health, but it can create some issues for your shoulders. Side sleepers often report pain in one or both shoulders.

If youre a side sleeper, here are a few tips to help lessen shoulder pain:

  • Dont place your arms straight out in front of you. This position can put extra pressure on the nerves and restrict blood flow to your shoulders and arms, and you may wake up with a pins and needles sensation in one or both arms and shoulders.
  • Find a pillow that keeps your ear, shoulder, and hips aligned. Many pillows can place your neck in an awkward position which puts strain on your muscles.
  • Try rotating which side you sleep on each night. This might help alleviate the shoulder pain you feel when you wake up.

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Getting A Good Nights Sleep

  • 1Make your bedroom cool, quiet, and dark. Set up an ideal sleeping environment so you can relax and fall asleep more easily. Dim the lights in your bedroom and make sure it is quiet. The temperature of your bedroom should be on the cooler side, as it is often easier to fall asleep in cooler temperatures.
  • Draw the drapes or curtains in your bedroom to block out any natural light so your body knows it is time to go to sleep.
  • 2Stretch your neck before bed. Do neck rolls from one side to the other so stretch out your neck so it does not feel as tense or strained. Try stretching your arms above your head and leaning from 1 side to the other to release tension in your shoulders and neck. You can also do a forward bend, letting your neck hang towards your toes, to stretch this area.XResearch source
  • Get in the habit of doing at least 1-2 neck stretches a night before bed to help your neck relax and reduce your neck pain.
  • 3Put your phone down an hour before bed. Scrolling through social media or the news on your phone can strain your neck muscles when you tilt or shift your head to gaze at the screen. The blue light on your phone can also block your bodys release of melatonin, a natural chemical that can help you sleep. Opt for reading a book instead, propped up on a pillow in bed so your neck is well supported.XResearch source
  • You can also listen to calming music as you lay down in bed to help you follow asleep, listening to music does not require you to strain your neck muscles.
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    Optimal Sleeping Positions for Neck & Shoulder Pain
  • 1.5 Apply a Heating Pad on the Neck
  • You had set an alarm for a Monday morning. You woke up right on time. But as you got up, you feel pain. OopsYour neck hurts!

    Perhaps, you slept the wrong way which caused strain to the neck. This strain may cause minor pain and stiffening in the tendons, muscles, and ligaments of your neck. The healing may take at least three days. While this isnt considered a serious injury, it causes a lot of discomfort.

    Before your stiff neck gets worse overtime and stops you from going to work, you should do something about it. Of course, its unimaginable to live life with this irritability.

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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.

    What Is The Best Sleeping Position For Shoulder Pain

    In order to improve your position, you need to avoid positions that increase your shoulder pain. For example, if you sleep on your left shoulder, you will need to adopt a new position sleeping on your right shoulder, or on your back. Sometimes this can be difficult without switching which side of the bed you sleep in because most people tend to roll towards the outside or exposed edge of their bed.

    Using a supportive pillow is extremely helpful to take the stress off your shoulder. Getting a pillow with the right height, density and neck support for your body will make a huge difference. Expert advice should be sought to help fit the pillow to your head, neck and shoulder correctly.

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    Consider Your Sleep Position

    You may be surprised to learn that, according to the physical therapists at PRO~PT, there is no best sleeping position.

    Each person has their own unique and personal way of sleeping, and as long as it gives them a good, pain-free nights sleep, its the right position for them.

    If youre waking up with a sore neck, there are a few things you may want to consider:

    • Is your head or neck situated at an awkward angle? If you spend an extended amount of time in a problematic position, you may find that youre experiencing overstretched and overstressed muscles and joints.
    • Do you find you wake up in pain after sleeping in a certain position? Try a new position for the next night. For example, if you are a stomach sleeper, you might try laying on your back or side.

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