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.
How To Relieve The Stiffness
1. Rest Your Neck
Can you believe your head weighs about 20 pounds? Your neck is the only thing supporting it. When you have time, give your neck muscles a chance to rest. Waking up with stiff neck may be an indication you are overworking it. Lie down when you can, making sure you have a pillow that keeps your head and neck in the right position.
2. Stretch Neck Muscles
When you plan on stretching any muscle in your body, you should warm it up. This includes your neck. Consider applying a hot towel or taking a hot bath before starting. Moderation is key when it comes to stretching. Simple stretches include:
3. Relax Neck
- If you wake up with stiff neck, you may want to consider massage therapy. There are also techniques that allow you to self-massage the area. Just make sure to use gentle pressure and stop immediately if your pain gets worse.
- Magnesium is also known for its relaxing properties. Consider taking a supplement, but do not take more than the daily recommended dose.
Exercise And Stretch Your Neck
Exercise will help the strength of your neck muscles. You should do short sets of strengthening and stretching exercises throughout the day.Research suggests that doing regular exercise will help strengthen your neck muscles.
Chin tuck exercises one of the most effective postural exercises. It is mainly done for stiff neck remedy.
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The Key To A Good Nights Sleep: Your Pillow
To prevent developing neck pain from sleeping, alignment is important. Supporting your neck with the right pillow, and supporting your lower back, hips, or knees with a pillow helps keep you aligned and prevents the awkward positions that lead to pain.
If you already have a stiff neck, though, sleeping in the right position with adequate support can help you drift off without any trouble. Thats where choosing the right size, shape, and type of pillow for your preferred sleeping position and body type comes in.
According to Harvard Medical School, the best sleeping positions when you have a stiff neck are either on your back or side. Again, supporting your neck and head with the right pillow can make all the difference. If you sleep on your side, the pillow should naturally fit into the space between your head and neck for support. If you sleep on your back, choose a cervical pillow designed for extra neck support with a rounded edge to go under your neck with a flatter spot for sleeping. In a pinch, you can put a neck pillow or rolled up towel inside your pillowcase to add the extra support to your regular pillow.
How We Evaluated These Pillows
During the testing process, our team members lie on each pillow for a period of time to evaluate firmness, support, pressure relief, and other performance features that are relevant to sleepers with neck pain. Testers shift around to evaluate the pillow in different positions. The picks above reflect the pillows that out-performed all other models.
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Tips On How To Sleep With Neck Pain
If you have neck pain, it’s important that you get quality sleep. Sleep is a crucial part of the body’s healing process. If your neck hurts after sleep, there are several different things you change about your routine before bed and your sleeping posture so you can work towards being pain-free.
1. Make Sure You Have the Right Pillow
It’s important that when you sleep your neck is parallel to the mattress and your spine is in alignment. A lot of people have success with cervical contour pillows that have supports for your neck whether you’re lying on your back or on your side.
Everyone’s different, and you might need to experiment to find the best pillow for neck pain that works for you.
2. Make Sure You Have the Right Mattress
A mattress, of course, is no small investment, but it’s possible that a poor mattress is a contributing factor if your neck hurts after sleep.
Just like with finding the proper pillow, the right type of mattress will be different for different people. That being said, the most important thing is that the combination of your mattress and your pillow are keeping your spine in proper alignment while your sleeping.
3. Avoid Sleeping on Your Stomach
4. Don’t Use Devices Right Before Bed
There are two good reasons to avoid using any electronic devices while you’re lying in bed.
It’s hard enough to fall asleep when you’re plagued by neck pain. Don’t make it any more difficult on yourself by altering your body’s internal clock.
5. Apply Heat Before Bed
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.
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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.
Armor Physical Therapy Can Help Treat Your Stiff Neck And Shoulders
Want to learn more about how to sleep properly with a stiff neck and shoulder? Our specialists at Armor PT can offer more tips to help improve your ability to sleep. Also, we can help you find effective treatment for the root cause of your neck and shoulder symptoms.
We can start by performing a free screening on your neck and shoulders. Then, our physical therapists can build you a personalized therapy plan designed to reduce your symptoms and prevent them from coming back. We can even use our at-home care and virtual therapy services to treat you from your home.
Contact us today for more information about the services we offer for neck and shoulder issues or to schedule an initial appointment.
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The Best Sleeping Position For Neck Pain
Almost everyone has had a sore or stiff neck at some point in their lives. According to the World Health Organization, back and neck pain and arthritis, and bone fractures are among the most common disabling muscle or bone injuries.
Approximately 10% to 20% of adults experience neck pain at any given time. Neck pain usually resolves on its own, but it can develop into a persistent issue in around half of the cases.
Getting a good night’s sleep might be difficult with a tight neck. Making a few adjustments to your sleeping patterns, on the other hand, can help you manage your neck pain and avoid sleeping in unpleasant positions for long periods.
Let’s take a look at which sleeping positions are most likely to relieve neck pain. We’ll also look at other things you can do before bed to help alleviate pain.
Visit Panther Physical Therapy For Stiff Neck And Shoulder Pain Treatment
Do you have trouble sleeping due to a stiff neck and shoulder? Physical therapy can help reduce shoulder and neck pain, so you can enjoy more of your favorite activities and get a better nights sleep. Our team at Panther Physical Therapy can examine your neck and shoulder and work on a treatment that can help you reduce your pain and stiffness, especially while sleeping. Contact our team for more information about how to sleep with a stiff neck and shoulder or to schedule an initial appointment.
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Why Do I Sometimes Wake Up With A Stiff Neck
It is not uncommon for people to go to bed symptom-free, only to wake up in the morning with an aching neck or back. This type of nighttime-acquired pain can arise due to an unsupportive pillow, a poor sleeping position, or a sudden movement.
Although pillows are intended to support the spine in a neutral position, they can cause symptoms such as a stiff neck when they lack support. Even if your pillow feels comfortable, it may not be an appropriate pillow for minimizing or preventing neck pain. To help support your neck, it may be best to avoid a feather pillow or regular foam pillow, and instead choose a contoured latex, foam, or polyester pillow.
Additionally, recent studies confirm the connection between sleep posture and waking with a stiff neck or an aching back. To help prevent the development of neck or back pain during the night, try sleeping on your side. In studies, the side-sleeping position was found to be the most preventative of spinal symptoms, such as neck pain, while stomach sleeping was most likely to cause spinal pain. Stomach sleeping is believed to induce pain because it places an increased load on spinal tissue.
Prior injuries like whiplash can cause neck pain, and the pain can worsen during the night. An aching neck or back may also be caused by sudden movements, such as myoclonus , a brief involuntary twitching or jerking of a muscle or group of muscles, including neck muscles.
Exercises To Help With Pain
There are some exercises that can help with neck pain. A forward stretch is one where you gently pull your head forward with your chin pointed towards your neck. Think of a nodding motion. For 10 to 15 seconds, hold this position.
A side stretch should also be used. To do a side stretch pull your head from side to side gently. Your ear should move toward the opposite shoulder and you repeat from side to side.
Staying hunched over a computer during the day may also be contributing to your neck pain. It might be helpful to practice these neck stretches at various points during the workday.
Yoga is another way to help with chronic pain. Yoga is a moderate exercise that has been proven to reduce pain. Yoga increases the flow of oxygen to your brain and muscle tissues. The combination of breath awareness and physical movement also helps relieve muscle tension. Yoga also increases your range of motion.
Regular yoga practice also helps to relieve stress. Stress has been linked to causing back and neck pain as well.
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Get Your Zzz’s: 7 Tips On How To Sleep With Neck Pain
Getting proper rest when your neck is constantly in pain isn’t easy – but it isn’t impossible. Check our seven tips on how to sleep with neck pain!
At any given time, 10-20% of American adults are experiencing neck pain.
Have you ever gone to bed with neck pain and woken up in the morning only to find the pain is worse?
There are few things more discouraging than that. What can you do to make sure that your body is able to heal during the sleep process, rather than experiencing additional stress?
If you’re experiencing neck pain and want to ensure that you get a good night’s sleep, come with me and we’ll take a look at how to sleep with neck 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.
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Good Pillows For Neck Pain
It might be tempting to stock up on pillows when theyre on sale, but regular pillows filled with synthetic fibers provide absolutely no support to the neck while sleeping. While feather pillows conform to the neck, they lose their shape quickly and need to replaced yearly.
Memory-foam pillows are the best pillows for back and side sleeping as they contour to the neck and head and provide the necessary support to prevent neck pain and headaches. Pillows that are too hard or too soft will leave you feeling achy and stiff in the morning.
Ditch Your Phone Before Bedtime
Believe it or not, your phone could be hindering your sleep in a couple ways by:
- Causing neck pain. Many people bend their head down to look at the phone while texting or browsing the web. The further you bend your head forward, the more stress it puts on the cervical spineup to 60 pounds of force.1 Spending too much time looking down at the phone may cause neck pain, also commonly called text neck.
- Disrupting the sleep cycle. Your phone emits a blue light, which may be problematic at nighttime when your body is trying to get ready for sleep. Some studies suggest that exposure to blue light may inhibit sleep by delaying your bodys release of melatonin.2 Since sleep is an important part of the bodys healing process, less sleep may also contribute to neck pain.
Try these 4 easy stretches before bedtime. Watch:4 Easy Stretches for Neck and Shoulder Pain Video
Stretching your neck loosens tight muscles and may help relieve pain. Here is one easy neck stretch you can try before bed to loosen your levator scapulae muscle .
Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis
Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis is calcification or a bony hardening of ligaments in areas where they attach to the spine. Ligaments are supposed to be flexible, so DISH can cause symptoms such as pain, stiffness, and restricted movement.
Top Symptoms: joint pain, upper back pain, stiff neck, stiff back, trouble swallowing
Urgency: Primary care doctor
Common Causes Of A Stiff Neck
Most cases of a stiff neck can be related to a strain in the neck muscles or soft tissue sprain. More specifically, the levator scapulae muscle is located at the back of the neck and on the sides, connecting the cervical spine to the shoulder. This muscle is controlled by C3 and C4, the third and fourth cervical nerves, and is very susceptible to injury. A range of common and otherwise safe activities can cause strain in the levator scapulae muscle, including:
- Sleeping with the neck in an awkward position
- Falling or another sudden impact that pushes the head to the side, like a sports injury
- Turning the head side to side repeatedly during an activity like swimming
- Slouching and using poor posture while working at the computer monitor or using a mobile device for an extended period of time, also known as text neck
- Experiencing excessive anxiety or stress that causes tension in the neck
- Holding the neck in an unusual position for a long time, like cradling a phone between the neck and the shoulder
In some cases, the neck will begin to show signs of stiffness right away, making it easy to tie an event like a fall to the issue. When the stiffness seems to appear out of nowhere, it may be more difficult to find the cause.
In even rarer cases, tumors or infections may be responsible for neck stiffness. While the cause is usually much less worrisome, it is important to have any neck pain examined to rule out these scenarios.
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