Neck pain can strike at any moment and often does suddenly for many people. It can range from a mild ache to debilitating pain. A common occurrence for people with neck pain is having difficulty sleeping. If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense too. The neck is what holds the head upright and is thus a complex of bones, muscles, ligaments, and nerves. This area when painful can cause a range of symptoms such as headaches, neck pain, arm pain, numbness or tingling, dizziness. It becomes fairly obvious then that any of these symptoms could keep you up at night or wake you up when sleeping. So what can you do? First thing is first, give Empower Chiropractic a call so Dr. Brunner can assess your condition and properly identify why your neck is hurting and can give the proper recommendations for you at home to safely manage your specific condition.
The first thing to notice is if there is a time of day that your pain is affecting you. Certain conditions like a herniated disc in the neck can cause your pain to increase overnight and you may wake with worsened pain. This is because when you lie flat while sleeping, gravity is no longer weighing down on your spine which allows the disc to swell causing added pressure on your nerves and more pain. Symptoms of a herniated disc include neck pain that ranges from mild to severe, headaches, dizziness, and radiating pain, numbness, or tingling down one arm and to the hand or fingers. People who have an active disc herniation causing them pain typically find relief when sleeping in a recliner while they go through the course of healing required for this condition. This allows a consistent gentle pressure to remain on the spine which will reduce the swelling that occurs while sleeping and thus will help in reducing pain levels while you sleep. It will also help to have either a firm pillow that is supporting your neck while you sleep or roll up a small towel and place it underneath your neck while you rest in a recliner to add support to the neck.
If you have neck pain due to another condition such as joint restrictions or swelling in the joints and you are experiencing pain when turning the head or looking up, it is beneficial to sleep lying down on your back and either having a firm pillow that is supportive of your neck while you sleep. Most people think a pillow is supposed to support the head and provide a cushion to sleep on. This is a common misconception, and a good pillow should actually be supportive of the neck and allow your head and neck to remain in a neutral posture while you sleep. A pillow that is too large will cause your head and neck to flex, can you imagine sleeping for up to 8 hours in a posture such as when you are looking down at your phone? It's no wonder that this could cause added neck pain! Instead, a pillow should be firm and not too thick so that the head can gently rest into the middle of the cushion and the edge of the pillow should be tucked up above the shoulders and your neck should be touching the pillow. This is important because the neck has a natural reverse C-shaped curve to it and adding support to this curve while you are sleeping can greatly help you reduce how much pain you experience while you are sleeping.
Maintaining a neutral posture while sleeping is crucial to avoiding neck pain that can wake you up at night. Neutral posture is having the head rest balanced on top of the shoulders when standing. If you were to look at a side view of someone with good posture, their ears would sit directly over their shoulders. This is what you want to maintain when you lie down in bed at night. Having the right type of pillow can help you maintain this posture and reduce the strain on your neck while sleeping. If you are suffering with neck pain it is recommended you come in to Empower Chiropractic for a checkup, adjustment, and recommendations from Dr. Brunner on how to better manage your specific problem at home. We are conveniently located in Shawnee, Kansas off of Shawnee Mission Parkway and only an 1/8th of a mile west of Quivira Road. You can call us at 913-278-1598 or can schedule online at www.myempowerdoc.com for your first visit. We look forward to helping you get back to feeling like yourself!