You’ve just opened your eyes and tried to move your neck only to find it stiff and painful when you attempt to tilt or turn your head toward one side.
While there are many reasons a person may experience neck pain (some of which are quite serious and require immediate medical attention) what is being covered in this article is how to avoid neck pain specifically caused by improper sleep positions, or what’s more commonly known as “sleeping wrong.”
Sleeping in prolonged or awkward positions can tighten muscles, compress nerves, and cause considerable neck pain upon waking. Sleep position is not always something that can be controlled, however, the best approach to avoiding waking up with this type of neck pain is to start out sleeping in a position that puts the least amount of stress on the neck area.
Typically, a pillow under your head and one under your knees will help you achieve this position. (From a vanity standpoint, back sleeping won’t promote wrinkles caused by side, stomach and fetal sleeping positions.)
Side sleeping is the second best to back sleeping, however, it’s important to note that the space above your shoulder needs to be filled so that your head and neck are supported in a neutral position. Hugging a body pillow while side sleeping is helpful in keeping the entire spine safe. If you are pregnant, sleeping on your left side is recommend as it is best for blood flow.
While you may not feel the aches and pains associated with stomach sleeping right away, overtime waking up with a stiff neck may begin happening more frequently.
Sleep experts recommend maintaining a consistent room temperature somewhere between 65-72 degrees Fahrenheit. Inadequate pillows and/or mattresses are also known culprits behind waking up with neck pain.
If you are experiencing neck pain upon waking speak to your physical therapist about finding the correct type of pillow and proper sleep position for you.
Founded in 2004, Elite Health Services, with locations in Old Greenwich, CT, is a world-class provider of certified Functional Manual Therapy™, personal training, pilates and running services. Elite Health Services has already helped thousands of your colleagues, friends and neighbors throughout Lower Fairfield County.
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