Getting a good night’s sleep with neck pain is no easy task. For most people, sleeping will make your neck pain worse, not better. The odds are that you’ve tried sleeping every which way: on your back, on your front, on either side, with a pillow, without a pillow, maybe even on the couch. Unfortunately, its difficult to find relief without guidance.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide. We begin by examining what you really shouldn’t do. If you didn’t know, sleeping on your front and sleeping without a pillow aren’t good ideas. We detail the reasons why you should or shouldn’t sleep in certain positions, and why sleeping on a pillow is your best option.
Following on from these sections, we help you decide on which kind of pillow you should choose. There are a dozen different kinds of pillows, ranging from super-soft to ultra-hard. You can also choose between pillows which are plump or pillows which are relatively flat. Your choice can make the difference between a good nights sleep and neck pain the next morning.
So, if you would like to get to the bottom of whats causing your neck pain, read on.
If you are looking for neck pain relief, you have many options available to you. You could try neck braces, massage, buying a new pillow or stretches and exercise. However, each one of these neck pain relief methods achieves the same goals: applying the basic principles of comfort and using them to ‘cure your pain.
Here are the three principal causes of neck pain:
As such, you may experience neck pain for many reasons. Perhaps you strain your neck muscles at work, through heavy lifting. Maybe you were in an accident in the recent past, and you feel the strain in your neck every morning. Or maybe your sleeping position is causing you tension over the course of each night.
There are a few reasons why you may be straining your neck at night. First, you may find that your sleeping position is all wrong. You may also find that your pillow is too high, too low, too soft or too hard. Whatever the case, it is worth trying a few changes to find your perfect sleeping arrangement. First up, here are our two tips on what to avoid when you’re trying to get to sleep.
The first point you will have to consider is whether your sleep position is causing neck pain and headaches. There is every chance that a simple to change to your posture as you sleep could be the trick you need to defeat your neck pain, once and for all.
But why is sleep position so important? Heres why:
This applies equally to whether you are sat in an office chair, or trying to get to sleep. So how can sleeping in a different position change how much your neck muscles have to work? And, most importantly, how can you prevent neck pain and headaches?
Sleeping on your back is the most natural, and perhaps the best way to relieve neck pain. However, that’s just case if you know how best to sleep on your back. It’s not as simple as lying down and expecting complete comfort! You have to make sure that everything, from your position to your pillow and your mattress, is working for you.
Here are the three things you have to think of:
Whether you choose to sleep on your back or your side, there are a few fundamental principles for you to live by.
If you sleep with neck pain, you will at some point have tried sleeping on your front. You may, at first, feel some relief from your pain—at least for a few minutes. But sleeping on your front with neck pain is not a good idea. In fact, its more likely to make your neck pain worse, if anything.
The reason why sleeping on your front is the wrong decision is that it strains your neck muscles.
It occurs because of two main reasons:
Over the course of a night, the strain that these factors cause will result in neck pain. By the following morning, you will be in agony—even worse than you are now. So even if you do feel some relief from your pain by trying to sleep on your front, remember that by the morning, your pain will be worse than ever.
If you’ve tried sleeping on your back and your front, try sleeping on your side. This is a far more natural position for your neck and your spine to be in. Its comfortable for your neck, although almost anything is more comfortable than sleeping on your front.
So let’s take a look at how to sleep with neck pain on one side, in three steps.
Sleeping with a stiff and sore neck/shoulder area is tough. The pain is enough to keep anybody up at night. But here are some hints and tips that might help you drift off, and wake up pleasantly refreshed in the morning:
These three tips should be enough to help you get to sleep. Choose a better sleeping position, and make it easy for yourself by treating your pain with one of these tips. Over time, this should be enough to help reduce neck pain and headaches.
Preventing stiff neck and pain is even more important than trying to numb it before you go to bed. But kissing goodbye to neck pain isn’t easy, as you know. And the reason why is simple: its because neck pain is caused by many factors, each of which feeds into each other in a kind of ‘vicious cycle.
One common reason why people experience neck and shoulder pain is their job. If you regularly have to lift heavy objects, this can cause shoulder pain and back pain. Try lifting with your legs, and keeping your back perfectly straight when you lift. If your pain is just too much for you, you may have to find another job.
But it’s not just heavy lifting that causes neck pain. Office work can too. When you sit at a desk for eight or nine hours a day, your posture will change. Your back curves too much, and your neck juts forward. Your shoulders roll forward too, to take up a better typing position. Try to remember to sit in a more natural posture for your body, or purchase corrective posture equipment.
Last but not least, your sleeping position may be to blame. After a long day at work, your pillow may not be giving your neck the support it needs. After a day straining and damaging your neck muscles, you need to give your neck some time to heal. So why not consider getting rid of your pillow altogether?
Another thing you should avoid at all costs is sleeping without a pillow. Just like sleeping on your front, you may feel some relief at first. Lying down without a pillow can stretch your muscles in a way that helps ease your pain. At least, that’s how it will feel for the first ten minutes; any more, and you’re doing more harm than good. Heres why.
You will strain your neck if you sleep without a pillow. Like sleeping on your front, your neck will be in an unnatural position with no pillow for support. Again, the natural position of your neck is to jut forward slightly from your shoulders. Sleeping without a pillow, gravity pulls your neck backwards/downwards, which places a strain on your muscles. By the morning, your neck will be hurting.
Again, you may be tricked into thinking that sleeping without a pillow is a workable solution. Like we mentioned above, for the first ten minutes, you might feel a little better. However, people have slept with pillows for thousands of years, for an excellent reason. You are not doing yourself any favors by going without.
Now we’ve covered the two dont’s of sleeping with neck pain, let’s move onto what you should do. Two sleeping positions work: sleeping on your back and sleeping on your side. Once we cover the best sleeping positions for neck pain, we also examine how your pillow can help. Depending on which you choose, you will need a different kind of pillow.
Sleeping with a pillow may seem the simplest of things. But unless you pay attention to which kind of pillow is best for you, and experiment with different kinds, then you’re setting yourself up for more neck pain. Here are a few of the variables which might be giving you neck pain:
As we briefly mentioned above, pillows can be stuffed with a variety of materials. Aside from these three points above, the kind of pillow you buy is vital. It could make all the difference.
The odds are that you don’t have a body pillow already. They’re longer than your average pillow, typically a few feet. You might wonder why on earth you need one—but there are two excellent reasons to buy one.
Body pillows aren’t commonly available from shops, but you can most certainly find them online. That being said, it might be a good idea for you to try and find one and test it out. Like other pillows, they can be either soft or firm, so you’ll have to find the one that’s right for you.
Given that there are several different causes of neck pain, it is only right that there are several different ways to tackle it. If you need a new pillow, you have no shortage of choice. There’s something for everyone: tall, flat, soft, hard, manufactured and natural pillows are available.
Here are just a few of those available to you:
What should you do to help yourself get to sleep better at night? We’ve outlined a fair few points above, but they might not all be for you. It’s best to experiment and pick what fits you best.
Here are our top tips for how you could sleep better with neck pain tonight:
So give some of the products listed above a try. There’s almost certainly going to be something that’ll work for you. Why not experiment with a few and find out?
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