Do you wake up with neck or back pain? Your sleeping position may be the cause

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) — Neck pain may have many causes: stress, improper sitting posture, injuries resulting from exercise and traffic accidents, and chronic diseases such as fibromyalgia. But there is another culprit that may not cross your mind, your sleeping position.

“Generally, when you wake up with a sore neck, either your pillow isn’t right for you, or the position you’re sleeping in isn’t right,” said sleep specialist Dr. It irritates your neck, or both.”

Experts suggest choosing a pillow that supports the natural curvature of your neck, which may be very different from the pillow your sleeping partner uses.

“Sleep is an individual experience,” Colleen Low, a spine pain specialist and therapist and spokeswoman for the American Physical Therapy Association, said in an email.

She added that “working with a physical therapist can help you understand what aggravates your pain, and what positions or strategies might lead to more restful sleep.”

Sleeping positions affect pillow selection

In general, sleeping on your back or side is better for preventing neck or back pain, experts say, as both positions help maintain the natural curves of your spine.

aFor sleeping on the back is the best position: Dasgupta notes that the ideal position is to sleep on your back, on a pillow that allows your neck to be positioned so that you are looking directly at the ceiling.

“If the pillow is too thin or too big, you will have to bend your head forward, which will lead to some problems,” Dasgupta said.

And if you want to know if the pillow is suitable for your neck, stand against the wall, put the pillow behind your head, and it should make you look directly, because you do not want to look at the ceiling or down, it should be perpendicular to the wall, and so you know that the pillow will not cause Neck pain, according to Dasgupta.

Back sleepers should try to sleep with their hands at their sides.

A 2017 study found that sleeping with one hand on the head significantly increases neck and shoulder pain.

“If you sleep on your back, try using a firm pillow or prop under your knees, as this can help keep the blood flow moving to avoid back pain if you bend your knees slightly while sleeping,” Lu said.

Sleeping on one sideIt’s okay to sleep on one side as long as you keep your head and neck aligned with the rest of your body. To do this, you will need the right pillow.

A 2010 study of side sleepers found that people who sleep on feather pillows wake up more often than those who sleep on latex pillows, which spoils the quality of their sleep.

Dasgupta suggests that side sleepers choose a firm pillow that stabilizes the neck while sleeping.

“If you sleep on your side, you might think that a hard pillow can hurt your neck, but a soft pillow is usually what makes you wake up with neck pain,” Dasgupta said.

“There will be a gap between your head and the mattress, so your pillow will have to act as padding,” he added.

And sleeping with extra pillows can also help keep the head, shoulders, hips, and knees in the same position, according to Lu.

She suggested using pillows between the knees, saying the idea is to keep blood flowing through your joints and then your nerves to prevent pain.

Do not sleep on your stomach: The only position experts don’t like is stomach sleeping, according to Dasgupta.

Sleeping on your stomach forces you to tilt your neck to one side for a long period of time, and forces your lower back to bend inward due to gravity, which leads to neck and back pain.

Experts suggest that people who sleep on their stomachs do their best to transition to sleeping on their sides or back.

It is recommended to try a pillow specifically designed to keep your neck in the same position.

What do you do about your neck pain?

What are the best solutions if I wake up with neck pain?

Hot or frozen compresses: Try taking a very warm bath to relax your neck muscles, which may reduce pain and improve your range of motion, says Dasgupta.

You can also try ice packs, and even alternate between hot and frozen compresses.

massageMoving the muscles and tendons in the neck may increase circulation and reduce muscle tension. Experiment with different massage techniques until you find one that works for you.

Movement and stretchingAlthough you should avoid strenuous activities and limit movements that aggravate the pain, “walking and moving are still preferred options, as complete bed rest may cause a stiff neck and back pain for a longer period,” Dasgupta said.

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