Sleep Doesn't Have to be a Pain in the Neck.
In fact, neck and back pain connected with sleep afflict a large number of people every year. It is one of the more common complaints of chiropractic visits. Most people suffer through such pain needlessly as there are some simple changes that can be made to drastically improve the situation.
The main causes of neck pain while sleeping are:
- Sleep position – the primary positions are back, side and front
- Pillows and mattresses – You don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to get good quality sleep equipment, but don’t go too cheap
- Sleep quality – The quality of our sleep is most affected by our pre-sleep routine, especially the last hour before bed time.
Although there are variations on these, there are three basic sleep positions:
Back Position – Sleeping on your back is excellent for both the back and the neck. It is easy to keep the spine and head aligned. Along with this position it is important to keep the head properly supported by a good quality pillow. Use a cervical support neck pillow under your neck/head. This allows the head to be in correct position, and minimizes the stress on the cervical spine. A positioning wedge for the lower back can also be beneficial.
Side Position – This is a natural position for many people. The legs can be bent somewhat at the knees and hips. However, the back must not curve too much into a fetal position or this will put strain on the neck and back. The pillow must have enough support to keep shoulders relaxed. If the pillow too low or flat your head will bend down. If the pillow is too high your head will be stretched upward. The best pillow is a cervical support pillow that is properly sized. These often come in set sizes, such as small, medium and large. Placing a pillow between knees to keep them hip-width apart will reduce stress on lower back area.
Stomach Position – The stomach position should be avoided. It is the worst position by far for many reasons. It places extra stress on the cervical spine and upper back area. Additionally, this position can stress the stomach muscles. When in the stomach position the head must be turned to one side in order to breathe. This can cause the neck to be stiff and sore by morning. If this is a favorite position of yours you may want to place a pillow next to your body to prevent you from rolling onto your stomach while asleep.sleeping positions.