Neck pain is one of the most common things that a lot of people are experiencing. It doesn’t matter how old you are, I’m pretty sure you have experienced neck pain at least once or twice. According to William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR of Medicine Net that neck pain is a common disorder or disease where some tissues around the neck are involved.
Having a neck pain can disturb your comfortability when you sleep. It will also give you trouble sleeping because of the pain in your neck.
Our necks are connected to our spine. This is why we need to take extra care of it because it is the link of our skull to our body.
Neck pain happens mostly because of the misuse of the muscles around your neck. Stress around your neck is one of the main causes of neck pain. One of the common stressors of your neck is the way you position yourself when you sleep and looking down on your computer for hours.
This can cause a lot of stress around your neck and might last for a day or two. Neck pain is also associated and caused by an injury, disease or the environment.
Few tips to sleep with neck pain
Find your comfortable position
We all have our favorite position when we sleep. Although we won’t wake up to the same position the next day, at least we still get to sleep comfortably. But when you are suffering from neck pain, there are positions that you need to follow.
A research from Harvard Medical School shows that sleeping on your side or on your back are the best positions for you even if you don’t have neck pain. Sleeping on your stomach can worsen the pain on your neck. This is because your spine and neck are not well-aligned.
Get the right pillow
There are people who are comfortable in sleeping with one pillow. And there are also people who are comfortable in sleeping with many pillows. It is up to you how many pillows you want as long as they are the right kinds.
And according to everydayhealth.com, in order for you to sleep comfortably with a neck pain, you can choose between Orthopedic, Feather, Cervical, Water-filled pillows.
These pillows are made for those people who constantly experience neck pain.
Get the right kind of mattress
The kind of mattress also matters if you are suffering from a neck pain. You need to lay on a special kind of surface to support your entire body and as well as making yourself comfortable when you sleep with neck pain.
The kind of mattress you must choose will also depend on what kind of neck pain you have. If it is an injury-related neck pain or a chronic neck pain, there are mattresses that are made for that.
This is for you to be able to rest and lay comfortably without feeling the pain around your neck.
Arrange your pillow/s according to your comfortability
If you are suffering from neck pain, it is best to arrange your pillow/s according to your comfortability. Your aim is to give your head and neck the right support.
Don’t use your phone while you’re in bed
People who often use their phones while they are lying on the bed don’t know that they are ruining the natural positioning of their necks. Spine Health says that our necks are designed to support our heads in a neutral position.
But when we are laid down and we tend to tilt our head up to 60 degrees, this can strain the muscles and tissues around the neck.Phones will not just stress our necks but it also disrupts our melatonin production due to the blue light from our phones.
When traveling, get a traveling pillow
Traveling can be exhausting. We even fall asleep while we are riding a plane, bus, or train. Bring with a traveling pillow with you every time you travel.This can help support your head and neck whenever you fall asleep. Sleeping with your head hanging can cause neck train or stiff neck.
And you don’t want to have that when you are traveling because you won’t get to enjoy your trip while having a neck pain.
If you cannot handle the pain anymore, there are over the counter pain relievers that you can buy. Or you can always consult your doctor for higher brands or doses of pain relievers.There are even some who are prescribed with steroids if the pain is extremely intolerable. But mostly normal pain relievers will do the trick and for you to be able to sleep comfortably and temporarily ease the neck pain.
It is still best to check with your doctor for you to know what kind of pain relievers that you need to take.
Neck and spine support
There are people who are suffering from spinal problems that also lead to neck pain. In order for them to sleep properly is that they often wear neck and spine supporters.Posture corrector like a body brace are recommended. Neck and spine supporters for sleeping are also available.
These supporters have varieties and you need to check with your doctor for you to know what kind of supporter you will need.
Stretch the pain
It may sound painful, but one of the best ways to treat neck pain and have a peaceful sleep is to stretch it before you go to bed. This is to exercise your neck and to manipulate the pain.Doing this every time before you go to bed can help relieve the pain in the long run.
Getting enough rest is what our body needs in order to recover from the energy that we exerted during the day. But having neck problems can be one of the reasons why we can’t sleep properly at night.
There are several causes of neck pain. And in order for this not to happen again, you need to take extra care of yourself even if you are perfectly healthy.
Neck pain doesn’t knock on your door, but it can happen to anyone at any time. And preventing neck pain is better and easier than curing them.
Here are some ways to prevent neck pain
Keep your posture upright
One of the main reasons why we experience neck pain is because of our poor posture. We always neglect the way we sit or stand.We often slouch our backs and this gives strain on our necks due to the misalignment of our spine. Poor posture also disrupts the continuity of the blood flow in our body.
Keeping our posture upright will not just prevent us from having neck pain. But it will also keep our spine well aligned.
In order to keep your posture correct and upright is to have a decent amount of exercise. This will help train your body to be positioned properly. It will then become a muscle memory so that even if you are not working out, your body will be in the right posture.
And it will also make you a healthier person. A sedentary lifestyle can also be one of the reasons why neck pain occurs. Constant physical movement is advised to keep the entire body healthy, and that includes your muscle and body positioning.
Avoid looking down for too long
Another common mistake that people do is they always look down. Most especially when they are walking. Tilting the head down way too often gives stress on the back part of the neck.
Your laptop must be leveled with your eyes
In relation with not looking down is to keep your laptop level with your eyes. And do not use your laptop when you are lying down. This is another common mistake that people always do. They think that it is comfortable to work on with their laptop when they are in bed.
But it actually stresses the neck and can cause pain after a few minutes. The best way to position yourself with your laptop is on a desk.
But if you can’t avoid using your laptop while you are in bed, there are bed tables for sale in the market. It is a dual purpose where you can sit comfortably on your bed and use your laptop properly with a bed table.
Keep your phone up
Keeping your phone up is also the same with keeping your computer level with your eyes. But we use our phones more often than our computers. It is as if our lives are connected with our phones already. And we are holding them in a wrong way.
Avoid using your phones below your chest level. Keep them up and at least shoulder level where your neck is still close to its neutral position. But is still better if they are eye-leveled.
Stretch your whole body
According to the research at Harvard Medical School, stretching can keep the mobility of the muscle and joints. It is to allow the body to move and flow freely without feeling any pain.
And believe it or not, it is also one way to keep the muscles strong and healthy.
Eating right is one of the main things that you need to do in order to keep your body from the different kinds of diseases and disorders. You will need the right nutrients from the right kinds of foods.
Eating a balanced diet will give your muscles and joints the right nutrients it needs. And as well as keeping them strong and avoid any muscle pain.
We now know what neck pain is and how to prevent it from happening. But if you add a bit more exercises and stretching to your head, neck, and shoulders you will soon be free from neck pain. Here are some simple head and neck exercises to help prevent you from having neck pain.
Workouts to prevent neck pain
Tilt your head in front, back, left and right. At least 5 seconds per tilt and repeat everything twice.Easily explained in this video here.
Rotate your shoulder for 10 seconds in a forward motion while your hands relaxed or on your waist. Then do it again in a backward motion repeat everything at least twice.Check this video on how to do it properly.
Slowly rotate your head to the right for 10 seconds. Then reverse and do everything at least twice.Video lesson here.
Slowly turn your head to the right and hold it there for 5 seconds. Then slowly turn it to the other side and hold it again for 5 seconds. Repeat everything at least twice.
Here is a video of the different neck exercises you can follow for you to relieve or prevent neck pain:
If neck pain does happen to you, there are some things that you need to avoid. This is to keep you from feeling the excruciating pain and for prolonging the pain.
We all want to be relieved from any kind of pain. But it doesn’t happen instantly, there are some things we need to do and not to do in order for it to be relieved sooner.
Things you should avoid when you have neck pain:
Don’t use your phone too much
It is already mentioned in this article that using your phone is can be one of the causes of your neck pain. Which is why if you have neck pain, avoid using your phone.
You will have the tendency to tilt your head downwards and stay that way or too long. And this can add more stress around your neck that can worsen the pain. Only use your phone for a few minutes when needed.
Do not slouch
There are different pain levels of neck pain. And if you want your neck pain to be gone, do not slouch. Remember, a good posture can help you relieve your neck pain.
Don’t hold your head on one side for too long
Holding your head on one side too long while will not make things any better. This usually happens if you have a phone call and you are holding your phone with your head and shoulder.
Don’t wait for the pain to go away
Everything is not magic. Although having a neck pain can sometimes be mysterious but there will always a reason why it happened. Don’t wait for your pain to go away, visit your doctor so that you will know what to do if the pain is there for days.
Don’t stay sedentary
Having a neck pain is not an excuse for not moving or exercising. There are specific exercises that are good for your body and for your neck pain. It can also help relieve it and at the same time for you to be physically healthy.
Our neck has one of the most important roles in our body. It carries the weight of our head. It is understandable that we get neck pains from time to time. There are a lot of contributing factors why we sometimes get neck pains.
This is why we should never forget in taking extra care of our necks and be extra cautious in what we are doing with our body.
Waking up with a neck pain or a stiff neck can hinder us from the things that we are supposed to do during the day. And it can make us feel uncomfortable even if we are trying to sleep.
Sleeping without any pain in our body will give us the best sleep every night. But once we have a slight pain from any parts of our body, we will not have the same sleep that we want.
Following the simple tips on how to sleep comfortably with neck pain can give you a small relief. It can at least help give you a good night sleep and for your body to be well-rested. Curing neck pain takes time.
Which is why it is better to prevent it from happening is one of the best things you need to do. And in order for you not to have neck pains is for you to live a healthy lifestyle.
Keeping yourself physically active, have a good posture and eating the right kinds of foods.
Also, having the right kind of mattress and pillows for your body to rest on can help make you sleep peacefully at night.
Written by: Dominic Brown
Dominic Brown a licensed Physical Therapist and Chiropractor and one of the head managers of Gold’s Gym International and a writer for Men’s Health Magazine. He is also a Yoga instructor and a part-time lecturer at Harvard School of Medicine.