Many of you have experienced the following situation.
Maybe your neck wasn't hurting at all - or maybe it hurt just a little bit, ... and then you lay down to go to sleep. But - when you woke up, your neck was stiff and sore and definitely worse than when you went to bed.
If this has happened to you, you need to read this article. These tips could make a big difference!
Sleeping should not make your neck pain worse or create neck pain if your neck wasn't hurting before.
The point here is that if you wake up from sleeping, and you have neck pain that you didn't have before, then there's something wrong with the way that you're sleeping.
In this article I'm going to give you the top three tips that will help you to eliminate neck pain when you sleep.
The most common reason for neck pain while sleeping is not having the right pillow for you. When we sleep, we want our neck to be in what's called a neutral position. In this position, our neck is mostly straight, but has a slight backwards curve.
Your sleeping position plays a big role in determining what is the right pillow is for you.
Stomach-sleeping is never recommended, and especially not if you have neck pain. T
The distance between your mattress and your head is much smaller when you're laying on your back then when you're laying on your side. This means that you need a much-thicker pillow when you're lying on your side than when you're lying on your back.
Most side sleepers use pillows that are too small for them. This doesn't mean you need to go out and buy a brand new pillow. Many times, you can just add a skinnier pillow or even some folded-up towels underneath your existing pillow in order to maintain that neutral neck position.
Once you have found the pillow that is the right size for you, you then need to make sure that the rest of your body is in proper alignment. The area of the body that is most important in relationship to neck pain is our shoulder blades.
The most common issue I see that can contribute to neck pain is elevated shoulder blades. This means that the distance between your shoulder blades and your ears is smaller than it should be. This shortens the muscles of our neck and shoulders and causes them to feel tight and painful the next morning.
Once you are lying in a good, neutral position with your head on the pillow, your next step should be to consciously lower your shoulder blades downward and keep them there. The video above shows how to do this.
When you do this before you go to sleep, and you do it again any time you wake up in the night, you will greatly reduce the tightness and pain in your neck the following morning.
So - at this point, you've found the right pillow for you, you've got your shoulders and the proper alignment, and the last important checkpoint before you go to sleep is the position of your head.
Many of us sleep with our head extended. This causes our chin to jut out far away from our throat. In this position, the muscles at the base of our skull are put in a very shortened position. This can cause these muscles to contract, tighten up and be very sore in the morning.
Not only can this cause pain in the neck, but these muscles are highly connected to headaches. If you find you are waking up with headaches in the morning, this is a "must- fix" for you!
Watch the video below, and I will show you how to fix this.
You're on your way to better sleep and better neck mobility and strength in the morning!
There you have it.
You're all set to develop a new sleeping practice that will give your neck a break - and help you wake up refreshed and with your neck muscles relaxed and ready for a great day!
These three tips will greatly reduce any pain that you have in your neck after sleeping. If you try these tips and you're still having neck pain, I recommend you visit a healthcare practitioner for a proper examination and treatment plan.
If you live in the Tulsa area, Movement Laboratory is here to help resolve any neck pain that these three tips don't take care of. Give us a call at 918-300-4084 and schedule your appointment today!
*We have a "Giving Thanks" new-patient special we're offering for the month of November that gives you $85 off your new patient visit - you'll receive my Assessment and your first treatment for just $65 patient cost!
Don't wait - you can call to schedule today!