Do you ever wake up in the morning with your neck hurting, and maybe even a headache? Sleeping is a problem for so many people and a big part of it is the pillow you’re using and the way you sleep.
Now, it’s a bit of a challenge because you’re sleeping and you just automatically curl into the position that is habitual to you. However, it is possible to make changes, and it’s worth the effort even if you only “sleep wrong” occasionally.
Sleeping on your back is the best, if you have a pillow under your knees, and just a little support underneath your neck, or if you sleep on a wedge that starts around the middle of your back and then goes all the way up your back and head. You want to make sure your pillow isn’t pushing your head forward (chin toward your chest) as that will really strain your neck and can cause pressure on the nerves to your upper back and all the way down your arm, into your hand.
When you sleep on your side, your head, neck, and spine need to be in a straight line. Take a look in the mirror and you’ll see that for most people they have a straight line down the side of their head and into their neck. When you have a contour pillow the curve will put pressure on your cervical vertebrae, pushing them up, while having your skull sink into a “valley.”
I suggest you get a firm enough pillow that you can snuggle it along the side of your head and into your shoulder, and that you can feel that your head and neck are horizontal. Often I’ve found that a sofa cushion is the right thickness, now, I’m not telling you to sleep with a sofa cushion, but give it a try to see how that thickness fits your body.
Stomach sleepers have the most problems with head and neck pain because this is the worst position of all. If you think about it, your head is held twisted either right or left for hours at a time. This position pulls your cervical vertebrae and then when you try to turn your head in the opposite position, the muscles hold on to the bones and literally pull them out of alignment. Then you repeat the problem in the other direction and when you turn your head you now have muscles pulling your cervical vertebrae in all different directions. Meanwhile your spinal cord is running through the vertebrae so you have bones pressing right into the nerves, playing havoc and causing pain.
This message is getting too long, so I’ll describe what to do for stomach sleepers in my next posting. Meanwhile, it will help if you read about repetitive strains and how they can cause pain that may be far from the source of the problem
Wishing you well,