Sleep is such a rare commodity these days that no one wants to deal with a painful neck after getting those oh-so-precious z’s. However, if you wake with neck pain, you’re not alone.
“Sleeping wrong” is one of the most common causes of neck pain upon waking in the morning, according to the National Institutes of Health. Thankfully, in many cases, there are simple fixes to the problem. Some of them are easier to implement than others. If you’re experiencing neck pain after sleeping, these are some of the things you’ll want to try to eliminate your personal pain in the neck.
This is often the most problematic adjustment for people to make. Our sleep position patterns are often set during early childhood. Some people prefer sleeping on their backs or sides. Back sleeping is the best for most people, but both back and side positions are preferable to sleeping on your stomach, which misaligns the spine while sleeping. Stomach sleeping forces the back to arch while also forcing sleepers to turn their necks to the side. It’s a recipe for neck pain disaster.
While it isn’t a simple matter to change the way you sleep, and you may find yourself switching back to a more natural or familiar pattern of sleeping during the night, it’s a good idea if you attempt to train your body to sleep on your side or back. You can do this by using body pillows to help you adjust to the new sleeping position. This has the added benefit of making it more difficult to easily roll over and switch positions while you’re sleeping.
The best mattresses to buy in an effort to reduce or avoid neck pain are those that are firm and supportive. However, while some people with back and neck pain prefer a firmer mattress, some people feel a softer mattress to ease the pain. It’s really about what works best for you, but typically a firmer mattress is recommended for people with neck and back problems. That said, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a soft and comfortable sleeping experience. Simply invest in a plush foam or latex mattress in order to experience the best of both worlds.
Different sleeping positions require a different type of pillow in order to maximize support. For instance, someone who sleeps on his or her back is generally comfortable with a typical pillow. However, someone who sleeps on his or her side will need a contoured pillow that provides additional neck support in order to keep the neck adequately aligned and supported. This will eliminate a great deal of the pain that’s been plaguing you.
Although natural remedies are best, if you are suffering from neck pain after sleeping, it can typically be treated with over-the-counter medications (though you should always consult your physician first) for pain. If the pain persists, consider alternating between cold and hot compresses. Apply the sleep changes above to avoid neck pain in the future because all you might need is a new pillow or different plush mattress to rid you of your neck pain.
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