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6 Ways to Prevent Neck and Shoulder Pain From Sleeping

Preventing Neck and Shoulder Pain From Sleeping


Do you find yourself waking up with a sore neck or shoulder? It could be due to the way that you sleep. Keep reading for some of our top tips on how to prevent neck and shoulder pain while sleeping.



How Does Neck And Shoulder Pain From Sleeping Happen?


Most neck and shoulder pain is due to injury of the soft tissue. This includes the muscles, tendons and ligaments, which can result in pain, stiffness, muscle spasms, and even headaches. Pain often occurs on one side of the neck, although you can have pain on both sides.


Holding your neck in an awkward position for long periods of time can lead to muscle spasms and strains in the neck and shoulder. Some of the most common postures that can provoke neck and shoulder pain include:

  • Sleeping on a pillow that is too high or too flat

  • Grinding or clenching your teeth through the night

  • Sitting at a workstation that is set up incorrectly

  • Looking down at a mobile phone


How To Prevent Neck And Shoulder Pain From Sleeping


  1. Change your pillow


It is important that your pillow keeps your neck in a neutral alignment so that the natural curve of your neck is supported and maintained. You should avoid pillows that are too flat or too high. We recommended using a firm contour pillow. The contour shape is designed to provide extra support under your neck as you sleep.


2. Avoid sleeping on your stomach


Sleeping on your stomach means that your neck is in a rotated position for a prolonged period of time, causing strain on the joints and muscles.


3. Try a new sleeping position


Sleeping on your back or your side is best for your neck. If you sleep on your back, place a pillow underneath your knees which will also help to support the lower back.


If you prefer to sleep on your side, make sure your pillow is a good height to support the neck. Place a pillow between your knees to keep your spine in a better position and support your lower back.


If you have a sore shoulder, avoid lying directly on the sore side. Either lie on your back or the opposite side.


4. Consider changing your mattress


Your mattress can make a big difference to how well you sleep. Avoid deep, soft mattresses that your body sinks in to. Too hard of a mattress is a problem as well. A more medium to firm mattress is much more supportive for your neck and back.


5. Improve your sleeping habits


If you are still having trouble after changing your sleeping position and pillow, you may need to look at your sleeping habits in general. Are you getting enough sleep each night? Are you spending too long looking at your phone or computer before you go to bed? Are you having caffeinated drinks in the evening? Consider what other lifestyle aspects may be contributing to a poor night’s sleep.


6. Consider a visit to a physiotherapist


Physiotherapy treatment is extremely effective in relieving neck pain. Your Physio will take a detailed history and work out what the cause of your neck pain is. They will use hands on manual therapy techniques to relieve muscle tightness and joint stiffness, and can also use ultrasound, heat packs and TENS for pain relief. You will also be prescribed an exercise program consisting of stretches and strengthening work. Stretches are important to maintain flexibility in the muscles and prevent them from tightening up to the point where they cause pain. Strengthening exercises, particularly for your upper back and shoulder blades, will help to support your neck and correct any weaknesses or overcompensations that you may have. Your physio will prescribe exercises specifically tailored to your condition to help speed up your recovery.


If you are suffering from neck pain and would like some help or more information, contact us! Give us a call on 9875 3760 or email info@wphphysio.com.au



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