This is a really common complaint among us. A lot of of us spend hours sitting in bad posture while using computers, without thinking about the long term consequences. Miserably yet truly enough, sometimes the neck pain is so severe that it is agonizing and draining, restricting activities, causing headaches and sleep deprivation and absenteeism from work.
The golden rule still stands; when it comes to neck pain, an ounce of prevention may be worth a ton of cure. Yes it is true that there are certain causes of neck pain, such as age-related wear and tear, are not under your control. Nevertheless, there are many things you can do to minimize the risk. One good place to start at is to evaluate how you sleep and what effect this might have on neck pain.
What are the most appropriate and neck-friendly sleeping positions?
Ideally, two sleeping positions are comfortable to the neck: on your side or on your back. If you sleep on your back, better to use a rounded pillow supports the natural curve of your neck, with a flatter pillow cushioning your head. This can be achieved by tucking a small neck roll into the pillowcase of a flatter, softer pillow, or by using a special pillow designed with a built-in neck support plus a depression for the head to rest in. Here are some bonus tips for side- and back-sleepers:
- How about a feather pillow, which will easily mold to the shape of your head and neck without forcing it into a position that may cause pain. Beware that feather pillows will flop over time and it is advisable to change the pillow every year or so.
- You can go for a traditionally-shaped pillow with ‘memory foam’ that adapts to the contour of your head and neck. Some cervical pillows are also made with memory foam.
- Beware of rigid, stiff or high pillows, which can keep your neck flexed overnight and eventually you wake up with a painful stiff neck.
- Your mattress can also impact neck pain, look for a medium-firm mattress. If a mattress is too hard then hips, shoulders and other body parts that press against the mattress will be sore after long periods of lying still. There will also be gaps between the mattress and your body. If it’s too soft, the mattress won’t provide adequate spine support.
- If you’re a side sleeper, the pillows supporting your head should be the width of your shoulders to maintain a neutral position. Side sleepers can bend their legs and put a pillow between the knees to take stress off the hip joints and maintain a neutral spine.
- Your pillow should be replaced when it starts to flatten out and provide less support. Do not compensate by using too many pillows
- When you are travelling for long distances (e.g. in an airplane), you can use a soft horseshoe-shaped neck support which can upkeep your neck and prevent your head from dropping to one side if you doze.
- Now hear this … sleeping on your stomach is harsh on your spine, because the back is arched and your neck is turned to the side. Yeah, preferred sleeping positions can be tough to change, nevertheless, it’s really worth trying to hit the bed at night sleeping on your back or side in a well-supported, healthy position.
Neck pain that lasts for many days or keeps coming back is a signal that something is wrong, especially if you start to experience associating headaches, jaw or shoulder pains as well. Your body is trying to tell you something… listen to it and consult a medical professional.
If you are suffering from chronic neck pain, consult Dr. Stefan Matschke, the Orthopedic Surgery Specialist at German Medical Center- the best orthopedic clinic in Dubai. Dr. Matschke is an expert in providing personalized and compassionate treatment for a range of musculoskeletal conditions, including chronic neck pain.