Do You Awaken With Neck Pain?

Neck Pain From Sleeping Wrong? 

Have you woken with neck pain from sleeping in an awkward position? Often this ache is nothing more than annoyance, but it can sometimes be extremely painful. Neck pain from sleeping incorrectly is a common issue. Deep in sleep, your head can fall into a position that puts unnecessary stress upon your neck muscles. After a bit, your neck can get agitated so your sleeping brain might command your body to reposition itself so that your neck gets a little relief.  Alternatively, it may just ignore the agitation, exacerbating the strain. As a result, you have a pain in the neck the next morning.  There is  a lot of different things you can do to avoid this sort of neck strain in the future: change your sleeping position, try a new pillow or even, god-forbid… exercise!

But what can be done about the Neck Pain you maybe feeling right now? 

Any of the following tips can go a long way to eliminating that pain in the neck:

Give your neck a rest: Your giant head weighs around 12 lb. That’s a lot of weight that your neck needs to support. Give your muscles a break. If you have got some time to spare, lie down. Make sure your head in a neutral position (see Sleeping position below) and that you have a comfortable adjustable filled pillow. More rest is often the best remedy even if you just rolled out of bed.

Neutral sleeping position

Do your best to avoid stress: Most of us are familiar with emotional stress causing a headache. We even have a name for it — tension headache. Stress also has a physical effect on the muscles in your neck. As you tense up, the tightness in your neck muscles contributes to neck pain.

Ice in short increments: It can work well for some, but cooling can aggravate some more serious issues, so If the pain worsens, remove the ice immediately.

Use a warm compress: A warm damp towel (use a microwave to zap it!) can help to increases circulation and is often effective in providing relief to stiff muscles. Beware, heat can make inflammation worse, so if your symptoms worsen, remove that heat immediately!

Pop a few of what modern medication has to offer: Paracetamol or ibuprofen can help a lot if the pain isn’t too ridiculous. It should go without saying, but please follow the directions on the packaging.

Stretch the muscles in your neck

It’s always best to warm up muscles before stretching, so it’s advisable to take a hot shower or use a hot compress first. The key with stretching is to not overdo it!

Here are  4 of the simpler stretches:

  1. Slowly turn your head to the left. With your left hand, apply very light tension on your chin so that your head turns slightly more. Hold for 20 seconds and return your head slowly to centre. Repeat on     the right side.
  2. Tilt your head to the left and try to touch your left ear to your shoulder. With your left hand, apply light pressure on your temple. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat on the right side.
  3. Bend your head forward and try to touch your chin to your chest. Relax the shoulders as you do this. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat.
  4. Lie on your back with your knees bent and a pillow under your head and neck for support. Nod your head forward gently, as though you were saying “yes.” Hold the position for 10 seconds and then relax. Repeat 10 times.

Remember, these are just temporary solutions to neck pain from sleeping incorrectly! If you had a bad night, try all of the above and hopefully you will get some relief. But if you’re experiencing neck pain from sleeping on a consistent basis, do something that addresses the root of the issue(s) rather than just treating the symptoms.

Want a solution to consistent pain in your neck? 

Healthy Harmony Tenerife have qualified therapists who will,  during the first visit complete a full consultation and assessment of each client to ascertain the locality of the pain, testing the  range of movement of the particular area, limbs and joints and comparing the strength of muscles on each side of the body, our therapist will  palate the specific areas checking for abnormalities prior to the treatment designed to your specific needs and will include…

  • Soft tissue massage
  • Joint mobilisations
  • Exercises
  • Education

In respect to Education one of the most important things to check is your 'Sleeping Position and Choosing a Pillow'. The position you sleep in has direct effects on your health. Sleeping position can affect your respiration, spinal alignment, and even wrinkling of the skin. There are proven ways to get a better nights sleep by using the right pillow, with the right amount of fill, and sleeping in the right positions. Together, your sleeping position and pillow work to provide proper support for your head, neck and spine. You need a pillow that conforms to and supports the curve of your neck with enough firmness to support your head without collapsing. It is fine to sleep on your back or your side (or both) as long as your spine is kept in a neutral position and not bent out of alignment.

Side Sleeping Position

 Screen Shot 2017 05 22 at 11.04.48

Sleeping on your side with the wrong pillow can interfere with sleep and even lead to serious neck or back pain. Sleeping on one’s side is the most common sleeping position – and one of the best positions for your back.  When you lie on your side, your pillow needs to be thick enough to keep your spine straight, but not so thick it bends your neck out of alignment. Many soft traditional pillows collapse under the weight of your head, or aren’t thick enough in the first place. Using a thicker pillow or two pillows does not compensate for most pillows’ lack of proper neck support. Many people even fold their pillow in half when attempting to make up for a pillow that is too soft.

When you lie down to go to bed tonight make sure there is support under your neck, and that your spine is straight. This should allow your back and neck muscles to completely relax, if not you need to find a pillow that has an adjustable thickness and will provide you with the correct support.

Back Sleeping Position

Screen Shot 2017 05 22 at 11.05.04

 

Most people are familiar with the discomfort associated with a pillow that is not the correct thickness. Sleeping on one’s back is the second most common sleeping position after side sleepers. When you lie on your back many pillows do not properly support the space beneath your neck, causing muscle strain. A pillow that has adjustable thickness create a nice bulge beneath your neck that can be supremely comfortable, allowing your neck and back muscles to relax. As with side sleeping, the thickness and firmness of your pillow is important in keeping your neck and back properly aligned. Back sleepers are also associated with snoring; while pillows are certainly not a foolproof cure for snoring, proper support and alignment of your neck and airway can sometimes lead to reduced snoring.

Stomach Sleeping Position

This guy is going to feel it tomorrow.

sleeping man

If possible, avoid sleeping on your stomach as it’s difficult to maintain the proper spinal position. Sleeping on your stomach forces your head and spine into an unnatural upward bend. Staying in this position for hours on end is not good for your back or neck and can result is significant discomfort and restless sleep. If you do sleep on your stomach, you will want to have less fill in your pillow than someone who sleeps on their side or back. If you sleep on your stomach with a pillow that’s too thick, your spine will bent at an angle which is more likely to cause aches, pains, numbness or tingling of the spine and limbs. You may also want to place a pillow under your pelvis and lower abdomen to alleviate strain on your neck and back. That said, it is still generally recommended that you do not sleep on  your stomach.

 

Your Sleeping Position Matters

It may seem impossible to control the position you sleep in since you aren’t aware while sleeping. It is possible and it can make a considerable difference in the amount and quality of sleep you get. When going to sleep, or if you wake up in the night, make a conscious effort to follow these guidelines until it becomes a habit:

Keep your body in a “mid-line” position, where both your head and neck are kept as straight as possible. The best sleeping positions to do this are sleeping on your side or sleeping on your back.

Adjustable pillows form to fit your neck and spine as you change positions throughout the night, making them the best choice for your neck and spine health.

It is suggested that the most common sleeping position is on your side, with your legs and hips aligned and flexed. Because this position leaves your upper leg unsupported, the top knee and thigh tend to slide forward and rest on the mattress, rotating the lower spine. This slight rotation may contribute to back or hip pain. To prevent that problem, place a pillow between your knees and thighs…If you sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees to help maintain the normal curve of your lower back. You might try a small, rolled towel under the small of your back for additional support. Support your neck with a pillow.

If you would like any more advice please do not hesitate to call or email Healthy Harmony Tenerife our therapists would be happy to assist. 

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