If you’re waking up in the morning with neck pain, there is something you can do to improve your night’s sleep. Some causes—like the wear and tear of aging, arthritis, or even an injury like a slipped disk—may be out of your control. But there are some things you can control. Take a look at the four issues described below to see if you recognize anything that could be the cause of your neck pain.
- Pillow – One of the most common causes of neck pain is having your neck twisted or bent too far in any direction for a long time. If you wake up in the morning with a painful neck, it may be because your pillow is not supporting your head and neck in the right position. If you sleep on your side, pick a pillow that just fills the space between your ear and your mattress without tilting your head. If you sleep on your back, your pillow should keep your head from tilting backward or forward. When choosing what type of pillow to buy, consider a feather or memory foam one that molds comfortably to the shape of your neck. Since we spend about one-third of our lives sleeping, one of the best investments you can make is a good pillow.
- Sleeping Position – A mistake that many people make is not supporting their head properly while reading or watching television in bed. Avoid propping yourself up on several pillows with your head bent forward. If you are reading, make sure your arms are supported and your head is in a neutral position. Avoid sleeping on your stomach, because this forces your head to be twisted into an unnatural position, which can put pressure on nerves. Converting yourself to side or back sleeping may help you to wake up pain-free.
- Muscles are Stiff/Weak – If you still are having problems, find a chiropractor for neck pain. Learning exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles that support the neck may help improve the quality of your sleep.
- Sleep Habits – There are some things you should try to avoid during the evening a couple of hours before going to bed, such as caffeine, alcohol, and your electronics. If you need help for your pain, take your medication as needed.
Research suggests sleep (not just the sleep position) can play a role in musculoskeletal pain, including neck and shoulder pain. People who report sleeping problems (such as falling asleep or staying asleep) are likely to develop chronic musculoskeletal pain. One possible explanation is that sleep disturbances disrupt muscle relaxation and healing that normally occur during sleep.
For more information about neck pain that is robbing you of a pain-free day, we invite you to visit a chiropractor for neck pain. Call McKim Chiropractic for help with your question, “Why do I wake up with neck pain?” Their offices are conveniently located in Nampa, ID, and Caldwell, ID.