comfortable sleeping positions for neck paincomfortable sleeping positions for neck pain

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1. Introduction

If you suffer from neck pain and it’s affecting your sleep, the way you’re sleeping might be a contributing factor or it could be making your neck pain worse. The entire night with the discomfort of neck pain can be miserable for all of us, and a wrong sleeping position can cause challenges on the neck. It’s important to make sure your body gets into the best sleeping position with the neck pain as comfortable as possible. Of course, there are always ideal and less ideal sleeping positions for all of us. It’s the same with neck pain. Try to sleep in a position that helps you maintain the natural curve in your lower back. At the same time, find a position that is comfortable for your neck. At all costs, avoid sleeping on your stomach. This puts a lot of stress on your neck because you must keep your head turned to one side all night, and there is no way to maintain the curve in your neck and support your head. Remember, the time you find the most comfortable sleeping position for neck pain that helps to reduce the frequency of pain which wakes you at night, you’ve won half the battle. The next step is to find a pillow that is comfortable and supports a good sleep posture.

2. Common Causes of Neck Pain

Injuries can occur doing simple everyday tasks, such as reading in bed with poor support. This can bring on chronic neck pain. Also, activities involving overhead work or repetitive bending, such as slouching in front of a computer for hours on end, can cause or aggravate the neck. These repetitive postures can produce chronic joint irritation, muscle strain, and even abnormal wearing of joint surfaces, all of which can result in pain.

Whiplash, a non-medical term, generally describes a range of injuries the neck sustained, including a sprain, strain, disk injury, or a whiplash-associated disorder with fractures. One or more of the listed structures may be injured at the same time, producing a variety of symptoms. Also, the head restraint in the car is an often overlooked piece of equipment that can reduce injury resulting from a rear-end collision by preventing the hyperextension of the neck, which can make all the difference in the event of a collision.

There are several possible reasons the neck may be in pain. The neck has a high level of vulnerability to injury and disorders due to its range of motion and its supporting the head. For example, an automotive collision may produce a variety of injuries.

3. Importance of Comfortable Sleeping Positions

The cervical region of the human spine is delicate and vital to overall physical health. Consisting of seven vertebrae, this section of the spine can undergo considerable stress during the day and is vulnerable to developing neck pain. Reversing these stresses and relieving neck pain is vital to maintaining spinal health. Since most of the stress will be imparted to the neck in an unequal or unusual fashion, the body tries to “even things out” during the night in a defense mechanism to neck pain. The body will essentially create an environment that may worsen the pain already existing by assuming “protective postures” during sleep, or unconsciously avoiding certain positions. For these reasons, it is important to evaluate your current condition and try different sleep positions that may help increase quality of sleep and decrease symptoms in the morning.

4. Recommended Sleeping Positions for Neck Pain

If you’re looking for comfortable sleeping positions for neck pain, read up here. Sleeping on the stomach is generally not good for the neck, but it can be a hard habit to break. If you must sleep in this position, place a small flat pillow or a rolled-up hand towel under your forehead to allow room to breathe and to prevent you from fully rotating your head, which is bad for the neck. A second pillow should be used under the stomach to help keep the back in a more normal alignment. A third pillow is also needed to support the leg on the side of the body that is facing up, so it does not slump over the body. This can help prevent lower back pain and/or sciatica.

Side sleeping is also a comfortable position, and it can be good for the neck if done right. The most important thing is to use a proper pillow. A roll-shaped pillow should be placed under the neck, and a flatter pillow should be used to support the head. The roll fills the space between the head and shoulders, keeping the neck in line with the rest of the spine. Give it a shot. It can take a while to get used to, but many people find it much more comfortable and supportive for their neck this way. A body pillow is recommended to prevent falling onto the stomach.

The ideal sleeping position to reduce neck pain is to sleep on your back. In this position, the normal curves of the spine are maintained. A cervical roll supports the neck, and a contoured pillow supports the head. The roll should be positioned above the shoulders but below the neck so it doesn’t push the head forward. A small pillow should be under the knees to reduce any stress on the lower back. If you have poor support from your mattress, place a pillow under your pelvis or use a 2-5 inch egg crate foam (cut to fit under the fitted sheet) from the local bedding or foam shop to improve the support of your mattress. This position is recommended only for those without sleep apnea.

5. Conclusion

If you are having trouble breaking a bad habit, try setting up a “fortress” of pillows around you. If you simply cannot fall asleep on your back, try a contoured neck pillow designed for side sleeping. Try to keep change your position simple, no matter how elaborate your fortress becomes. Flopping over a pile of pillows can be the most comfortable choice. The best strategy is to choose a position that is least likely to cause problems, while at the same time, will set the stage for a more favorable position when acute neck pain has passed. If you have pain or numbness that persists during the day, be sure to see your doctor. Remember that not every neck pain is the same, and it is possible that you have a pinched nerve or other specific problem. With a keen strategy, a little luck, and the right treatment, it is possible to say goodbye to sleepless nights and unproductive days due to neck pain. If you experience constant pain, a neck pain treatment doctor may be able to help you.

Remember that it is very difficult to change a preferred sleeping position, since it is determined by the subconscious mind during a period of adaptation to pain. However, even a simple switch in position may provide dramatic relief. Try a new position for a few nights to give it a fair chance. When neck pain comes back, it is often due to the fact that that position was being held too long. Our body is an efficient machine and it will do its best to adapt a poor position to avoid pain, but it will break down sooner or later. Stick with the new position for a good 3-4 nights. This will give your body a clear message of what you want to achieve while allowing time for any temporary soreness to subside. For more information about chronic neck and shoulder pain relief, contact your orthopaedic surgeon.

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