It can be pretty easy to take a comfortable lifestyle for granted. It’s only after we’ve developed aches and pains that we realize how good normal truly was.
The same is true for neck pain. Soreness or tenderness in the muscles around the neck, problems with nerves, or other tingling sensations can become so painful and severe that they interfere with work.
This is especially true for those who work desk jobs or those who tend to sit for the majority of their day. The repetitive nature of desk work can make that neck pain all the more aggravating.
So how do we fix neck pain? Perhaps you’ve injured yourself and need to see a medical professional, but for many people, this sort of pain seems to come along on its own. And because of this, there’s a good chance we can fix it without outside help.
The truth is, so much about neck pain comes from sleep. The way you rest and the position you hold your neck in throughout the night plays an important factor on the way your neck behaves for the rest of the day.
So how do we fix neck pain?
Perhaps you’ve injured yourself and need to see a medical professional, but for many people, this sort of pain seems to come along on its own. And because of this, there’s a good chance we can fix it without outside help.
Why Sleep Matters
Aside from the health implications of too much or too little sleep, how, where, and when you sleep plays a major factor in neck pain.
Whether you know it or not, your sleeping position, pillow, and mattress may be making your problems worse—not better.
The reason? Your neck makes up the top part of your back.
The spinal column runs all the way from the base of the skull down to the small of your back. This long stretch of bone contains much of your nervous system and needs to be taken care of to ensure long-term health.
If you sleep erratically, toss and turn in the night, or use uncomfortable sleeping materials, you’re putting that health at risk.
The way you sleep plays a crucial role in the entire nervous system. If you’re stretching out your lower back, you can feel it all the way in your neck. These problems can only get worse with a lifestyle that doesn’t let you exercise often.
Once you’ve misaligned parts of your back, staying seated throughout the day will make it so that your back continues to set in this new condition.
That’s why we strongly recommend investing in inversion boots, an inversion table, or increasing exercise by any means necessary.
This will promote a full range of motion in the back and might serve to help you get things aligned without the need for professional help.
The State of Your Mattress
After you’ve done all that you can during waking hours, it’s time to fix your time spent asleep. For most people, this means starting with your mattress.
Your mattress, whether you’re conscious or not, is where you spend about a third of your life.
With that in mind, are you happy with your bed? Is it comfortable enough for you?
Even more important than comfort is the need for a mattress that can support you without skipping out on cradling pressure points.
Pressure points differ depending upon your sleeping position (more on that in a moment), but the most important thing to keep in mind is the material.
The makeup of your mattress is the most important part of the support, and the best way to get support in the current state of mattresses is by going for memory foam. Memory foam mattresses cradle pressure points and allow them to sink into the mattress while keeping the rest of your body supported.
This helps promote the alignment of your back, which should serve to alleviate most neck pain. There are tons of mattresses available for these purposes, but their value to you is going to depend on your sleeping position as well as your pillow.
The combination of both is going to determine the level of firmness you want. For example,
[su_panel border=”3px dotted #f1913c”]If you use a medium or thin pillow and sleep on your side, you’re going to want a plush mattress to make up the difference. If you use a thick pillow and sleep on your back, you’ll want the opposite.[/su_panel]
Speaking of pillows, it’s important to make sure that yours is up to the task of supporting the neck as well as the head. The best kind of pillow for this sort of task is the cervical pillow.
Cervical pillows are often designed with an indention for your head. The idea is that your head will rest in this indention while the protruding section of the pillow is supporting the neck. These sorts of pillows are great for those who already have neck pain and wish to relieve it.
Many of these pillows are also made out of memory foam, which allows for that support-but-comfortable feeling many are after. However, that doesn’t mean that every pillow you get from now on needs to be made of solid foam.
For example, picking up a miracle pillow that’s made of shredded memory foam may work better or be more comfortable for your sleeping position. Whatever it takes to get to your spine aligned is more important than the materials used to get there.
All of this talk about spinal alignment might sound intimidating, but the key is very much in how you sleep. There are several major sleeping positions, but only two are going to help you gain alignment.
- The first, and best, is to sleep on your back. Back sleeping keeps the head straight and supported by a pillow.
- Your other option is side sleeping, but in this position, you need to make sure your legs are straight and that your pillow is large enough to keep your head up.
[su_note radius=”1″]The real problem is stomach sleeping—which forces the neck unnaturally to the side to move the head.[/su_note]
A combination of the way you sleep, what you sleep on, which pillow you use, and how active you are all contribute to fixing your acute neck pain. If you’re serious about dealing with your neck pain, this is the way to do it.
I am Thomas J. Hazen founder of the Elite Healthy. I have completed Master of Public Healthy. Retired Physician. Professional blogger for more than 5+ years. Mainly writing about Inversion therapy, Back pain, neck etc.