A good night’s rest can cure many ills- including neck pain, if you’re properly positioned. Although neck pain can have internal, inescapable causes like wear and tear due to age, there are certain factors that are within your control that you can tweak and adjust in order to reduce your general risk of neck pain, or to alleviate existing pain. Think about the number of hours you spend stationary when sleeping. Now think about how the way your neck and body is positioned during the time can impact your neck pain. Below, we outline some simple ways to optimize neck support while sleeping and reduce or alleviate neck pain.
The Best Sleeping Position To Help With Neck Pain
The two sleeping positions that are the easiest on your neck are either on your back or on your side. If you prefer sleeping on your back, use a rounded pillow to provide support to your neck’s natural curvature. Your head should be cushioned by a flatter pillow. Some ways to get this type of support include using a specific pillow with an indentation for the head to rest in and built-in neck support, or using a flatter, softer pillow and tucking a small neck roll into the pillowcase.
Tips For Side and Back-Sleepers:
- You can try and use a feather pillow, which conforms easily to the specific shape of your neck. However, these types of pillows do collapse over time, and need to be replaced often- around every year or so.
- Another type of pillow that conforms to the way your head and neck are contoured is a “traditionally shaped” pillow made out of memory foam. There are also cervical pillows made out of memory foam. It has been claimed by manufacturers of memory-foam pillows that these types of pillows can assist with fostering appropriate spinal alignment.
- Don’t use a pillow that is too stiff or high. Such pillows will keep the neck flexed while sleeping and result in stiffness and pain in the morning when you wake.
- If you prefer to sleep on your side, make sure to use a pillow higher under your neck than your head to maintain a straight spine.
- When riding (and potentially dozing) in a sitting or reclining position, you can use a horseshoe-shaped pillow to support your neck and stop your head from dropping to one side. Make sure the pillow isn’t too large, however, as it may force your head forward.
Stomach Sleepers, Beware
Some people like to sleep on their stomach, but know that this position puts additional stress on your spine since your neck is turned to the side and the back remains arched. While our preferences for sleeping positions are often formed early on and require a significant amount of effort to change, it may be worth considering at least trying to sleep on your side or back in a position that is better for your spine in order to reduce tension and pain in the neck.
Contact Us Today
Beyond tension and stress, there may be other medical issues causing your pain. If you have recurring back and neck issues, call The Spine and Scoliosis Center to consult with a spine specialist today.