Is It Better To Sleep Without A Pillow To Avoid Neck Pain
Is it better to sleep without a pillow to avoid neck pain? Or, does sleeping without a pillow actually lead to neck pain? There are a few advantages of sleeping without a pillow to consider, especially for your posture.
Sleeping without a pillow will actually help extend your back and help you rest in a more natural position, possibly without any aches or pains. At the same time, using a pillow that is too soft will strain your neck muscles and reduce the flow of blood to the head.
Overall, sleeping without or with a pillow is a personal choice. That being said, here are some sleeping without a pillow benefits that you need to know:
Breathing As A More Physical Exercise: The Abdominal Lift
Yoga, tai chi, qigong, meditation are all full of exercises that can be done individually with good effect, if one has a clear, specific goal of calming down. Here is one of the best examples, in my opinion:
The abdominal lift is a classic yogic exercise, best known as a longevity exercise for its stimulating effect on the internal organs. It is also a powerful abdominal strengthener , is vital for mastering many breathing techniques, and makes all other breathing exercises easier.
One abdominal lift takes about one minute, and three of them is a good dose of calming, although I recommend five for tough cases.
After an abdominal lift, the physiological pattern of anxiety has not just been disturbed but reversed, and now you are ready to get over it.
Other Ways To Improve Neck Pain
Poor posture is a common cause of muscle strains in the neck. It can worsen an existing injury and increase the likelihood of another one.
Using a computer or phone for extended periods can lead to forward head posture, where the head projects forward from the spine. This can trigger symptoms such as dull pain across the back or sides of the neck that may spread to the upper back, shoulders, and head.
If a person adjusts their posture, they may reduce neck, back, and shoulder pain.
When seated, a person should aim to keep the head in line with the spine and avoid slouching. It may help to adjust the screen to eye level when using a computer.
When standing, a person should keep the shoulders, neck, and spine aligned to achieve the correct posture. They should avoid tilting the head forward.
Sleeping on the stomach can also cause neck problems. A person can try to sleep on the back or on one side with a pillow between the knees. They can also use a supportive pillow to keep the neck aligned with the spine.
Other ways to improve neck pain include:
- applying hot or cold packs
- taking anti-inflammatory medications
- using support, such as a neck brace
- resting to avoid excessive strain
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What Is Psychosomatic Pain
The mind and body are linked in complex and diverse ways. Psychosomatic pain, which is more commonly called somatic pain, is pain that has no direct physical cause and often comes along with mental or emotional pain or discomfort.
For example, a stress response leads to changes in hormones and the nervous system that decrease the effectiveness of the immune system.
Similarly, muscle tension naturally follows an anxiety-related stress response as the body prepares to face the danger perceived or caused by the anxious thoughts.
How Is Neck Pain Managed Or Treated
Treatment for neck pain varies depending on the cause. It aims to relieve pain and improve function. Standard treatments for this symptom include:
- Medicines including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to ease pain and inflammation and muscle relaxants to help the healing process.
- Physical therapy .
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation reduces pain by disrupting the pain signal with a low-level electrical current applied to the skin near the nerves causing the pain.
- Traction to relieve pain with the use of inflatable devices.
- Steroid injections near the nerve roots to help relieve pain and inflammation.
- Surgery to repair compressed or damaged spinal disks or fuse some vertebrae in the spine.
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Can Physical Therapy Help With Stress Related Neck Pain Andshoulder Tension
Theres a multitude of evidence to support the effectiveness ofphysical therapy when it comes to reducing shoulder pain and decreased range of motion. Physical therapy treatment options for shoulder pain include manual therapy, joint mobilization, therapeutic exercises, stretching, therapeutic ultrasound, laser therapy, and modalities such as electrical stimulation/TENS, heat or ice.
Physical therapy can be a safe and effective option for managing the effects of severe stress. If your stress-induced shoulder and neck pain lasts for more than a few weeks, give us a call orrequest an appointment to discuss potential treatment options.
Never In The History Of Calming Down Has Anyone Ever Calmed Down By Being Told To Calm Down
Thats not strictly correct, but it is funny because its true in a sense. Being told to calm down in the right way, or telling ourselves, can be effective. But that right way is maddeningly elusive. Most people feel its a tall order for anxiey to yield to persuasion and reassurance. Its hard to outsmart it, or suppress it by force of will. We dont feel like we are good at calming down. Here are some of the typical ways that people reflexively try to calm down :
- We tell ourselves to get over it, and that really doesnt work.
- We apply logic and reason, telling ourselves that it doesnt make sense to be so anxious, and that doesnt work either.
- We seek out the logic and reason of others, of friends with perspective and experts with authority, and that usually doesnt work. We still worry, we still feel jittery.
- We try to distract ourselves, and sometimes that sort of works but only temporarily.
- We try to sweat it out with exercise, and that may be the best solution that many people use. But it can still be unsatisfying. It takes a good chunk of time and energy, it doesnt always work, and you cant do it every time you need to blow off steam, and in any case exercise is stress reducing so long as it is something you actually want to do,14 and certainly not everyone does.
These arent best practices, just the easiest and most obvious things that worried people tend to try. That doesnt mean they are useless, and if you havent tried them, you should.
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Neck And Shoulder Massage
You dont have to schedule an appointment with a massage therapist if you feel tension coming on.
Instead, you could use a foam roller or a rollerball to self-massage the tense areas of your shoulders and neck.
Hand massagers are another good way to relieve tension in your neck and shoulders when you dont have someone there to help you.
You could even try placing your hand in a C position and applying pressure for 20 seconds on sore spots. You can then release and move to another area, holding the pressure for at least 20 seconds.
Potential Causes Of Neck Pain
According to the Orthopaedic Section of the American Physical Therapy Association, there are four main types of conservatively managed neck pain:
- Neck pain with mobility deficits: This is a stiff neck a person experiences after straining the neck muscles when sleeping in the wrong position or lifting heavy weights.
- Neck pain with movement coordination impairments: This includes whiplash and neck pain that occurs after a person has been sitting at a desk in the wrong position for too long.
- Neck pain with headaches: This type of pain includes neck pain with headaches toward the back of the head.
- Neck pain with radiating pain: This includes neck pain due to spinal stenosis, a slipped â or herniated â cervical disc, or cervical nerve compression.
Stretching the neck may help a person relieve muscle tension and improve their range of motion. Below, we list examples of exercises that are best for neck pain with mobility deficits.
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Anxiety Increases Neck Pain Risk
Several factors can increase your likelihood of neck pain. If your neck pain is severe or impeding your way of life, it is advised that you visit your primary care provider. Other issues such as whiplash, a herniated disk, arthritis, etc. can all present as neck pain but require medical intervention. As always, if your pain is sudden and extreme, seek medical treatment as soon as possible to decrease the chance of further damage.
Take Care When You Sleep
Dr. Bang says if your neck is bothering you, you also should pay attention to your sleep positions. Sleep only on your side or on your back never on your stomach, he says.
When you sleep on your stomach, often you will end up twisting your head one way or the other for hours at a time, Dr. Bang says. Sleeping on your stomach also can affect your low back because your belly sinks in to the bed if you dont have enough support.
For minor, common causes of neck pain, try these simple remedies:
- Apply heat or ice to the painful area. Use ice for the first 48 to 72 hours, then use heat after that. Heat may be applied with warm showers, hot compresses or a heating pad. Be sure not to fall asleep with a heating pad or ice bag in place to avoid skin injuries.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
- Keep moving, but avoid jerking or painful activities. This helps calm your symptoms and reduce inflammation.
- Do slow range-of-motion exercises, up and down, side to side, and from ear to ear. This helps to gently stretch the neck muscles.
- Have a partner gently massage the sore or painful areas.
- Try sleeping on a firm mattress without a pillow or with a special neck pillow.
- Ask your health care provider about using a soft neck collar to relieve discomfort. Dont use the collar for a long time. Doing so can make your neck muscles weaker.
If the pain gets in the way of your daily activities, Dr. Bang says to call your doctor.
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Give Yourself A Massage
Although splurging on a massage is always a good idea, if your busy schedule or budget doesnt allow it, you can totally go the DIY route. All you need is a tennis ball.
Heres how Ebbin suggests you do it: Lay down on a hard floor with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Place the tennis ball under your neck right where you feel the tension. Let the weight of your neck and head fall onto the ball, then gently rock your body back and forth so the ball massages your neck. Doing this for a few minutes will stimulate circulation and blood flow to that area, helping to release the tension.
How To Treat Stress
Treating stress related neck-pain or any stress-related issue is tricky. Read my blog to find out why.
I am not a doctor, but I can certainly answer this question with the assistance of your doctor. The reason you should always consult your doctor is that you want to rule out causes OTHER than stress, first.
I had a pinched nerve in my neck that I THOUGHT was caused by stress and as a result, I did ALL the wrong things to try and fix it. I tried massage and that didnt work. I tried some yoga postures that focus on the neck and shoulders and that made it worse. I even tried going to a comedy club, because I thought a good belly laugh might help me feel more relaxed.
I got plenty of good belly laughs that night but my neck was killing me the next morning. Why? Imagine all the times I reflexively swung my head back and forth laughing thus causing even more pressure on my pinched nerve. OMG! It was terrible.
So please, do yourself a favor and check with your doctor first before concluding that this or any other pain is caused by stress. If he or she doesnt know whats causing your pain, or thinks it might be stress-induced, now you can safely consider the advice below.
First of all, you have to determine whether your stress is physical or mental or a combination of both. Lets talk about physical stress: Your posture, how you sit in a chair and whether you sit at a desk all day can all have a definite impact on the stress that your neck must physically endure.
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Stretch But Avoid Sudden Movements
Stretching can help relieve the pain and stiffness, and prevent it in the future. Its important to stretch gently and slowly. Sudden movements can cause more inflammation, pain, and a more serious injury. Apply a heating pad or take a warm shower before stretching.
- Roll your shoulders backward and then forward in a circle.
- Press your shoulder blades together and hold the position for a few seconds, then repeat.
- Slowly turn your head from side to side.
What Are The Possible Causes Of Neck Pain
Many different medical issues and injuries can cause neck pain. Conditions that may cause neck pain include:
- Aging: Degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis can lead to neck pain as you age. Over time, stress and motion can lead to spinal disc degeneration, causing a herniated disc or pinched nerve.
- Injury: Trauma from sudden forced movement of the neck or head and rebound in the opposite direction can cause pain and soreness. The muscles, ligaments, discs, vertebral joints and nerve roots in the spine cord in the neck can be affected in trauma injuries.
- Mental stress: Tightening your neck muscles due to tension commonly causes neck pain and stiffness.
- Physical strain: Overusing your neck muscles during repetitive actions or strenuous activities can lead to stiffness and pain.
- Conditions that affect spinal balance: Poor posture , being overweight, weak abdominal muscles can all affect spine posture and contribute to neck pain.
- Growths: In rare cases, masses including tumors, cysts and bone spurs can cause neck pain.
- Other health conditions:Meningitis, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer.
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Stretches That Will Relieve Neck Pain And Tension
Stiff neck? The area above your shoulders is one that commonly holds tension, especially if you’re sitting at a desk all day or constantly staring down at your phone screen.
According to research, neck pain may feel like a “kink,” stiffness or severe pain. This pain may spread to the shoulders, upper back or arms, or it may trigger headaches and cause numbness, tingling or weakness in your arms.
In general, neck pain refers to pain anywhere from the area at the base of the skull into the shoulders. And technology is one of the major culprits. As a culture we put our necks through hell with our reliance on technology, which creates forward head carriage, and results in neck muscles that go into spasm and refer pain into our heads, temples, and even behind our eyes, says Brad Butler, chiropractor and author of The Blueprint for Back Pain Relief: The Essential Guide to Nonsurgical Solutions.
“The most common causes of neck pain are either postural or positional. The modern-day life style of sitting at a desk looking over a computer for multiple hours unfortunately leads to a forward head position where the skull moves forward of its placement on the first cervical vertebra,” says Lara Heimann, physical therapist and creator of LYT Style Yoga. “Every millimeter that the skull is off-center places a strain on the posterior neck muscles. These muscles on the back of the neck have a chronic stress and load on them that creates tension and pain.
Treating Neck Muscle Spasms
There are a number of ways that you can treat a muscle spasm. In most cases it is a good idea to use multiple source of treatments for the best results. Among the treatments available for neck muscle spasms at home:
Massage: Sometimes the muscles in the neck need just a little bit of TLC, thus a massage is highly beneficial.
Stretching: Another useful way to minimize the pain of your neck muscle spasm is through stretching. Some say that this is the absolute best treatment for the condition. Most people will try stretching as their first recourse of relief.
Heat & Ice: Alternating between a cold ice pack and a hot hot pack will provide a great source of relief if you are bothered with a muscle spasm. You should apply the ice and heat for up to three times per day. It is especially beneficial to apply the ice and heat when you get up in the morning and again before you go to bed, but you can do this procedure any time of the day that you choose. Allow the ice to stay on the neck for a period of about 20 minutes, and the heat for 10 15 minutes.
Medications: If you are trying everything and nothing seems to help you may want to try your luck with over-the-counter medications. There are medications that can relief both the pain and some of the inflammation that is caused when a spasm occurs.
Physical therapy is one of the options the doctor has. Physical therapy is reserved for those with severe cases of neck muscle spasms but it is highly beneficial to most people.
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