If there is one thing that is sure to put a kink in your day, it’s a morning pain in the neck. No, we aren’t referring to your spouse or kids or even your job, but that annoying pain and stiffness in your neck that you notice when you first get out of bed.
If you are waking up with neck pain every morning, you are either willing to try just about anything or you have already tried just about everything to get rid of it.
If you are here because you wake up with neck pain and a headache every morning, or you have severe neck pain after sleeping, we want to offer you some valuable advice and tips for neck pain relief.
Neck pain can occur because of several reasons, so you need to do a little investigating to help you figure out what the cause is, so you can find morning neck pain relief.
Perhaps one of the biggest causes of neck pain comes from using the wrong type of pillow. You might be thinking that your pillow is fine, you’ve had it for years and it’s been great, but that is exactly the problem.
Most pillows are only good for 3-5 years, tops. Feather pillows are notorious for wearing out about every 12-15 months!
The first thing you should consider is replacing your old pillow. Most people find that the new memory foam pillows are best, but others swear by water filled pillows that offer a changing level of support, depending on how much water you fill them with.
Is it better for your neck to sleep without a pillow? Only if you prefer to sleep on your stomach. Side sleepers will absolutely need a pillow with good support and back sleepers need only a thin or contoured pillow.
The truth here is that if you are sleeping on your stomach most of the night, you probably aren’t doing your neck any favors. When you sleep on your stomach, you are forced to twist your head to one side or the other to breathe. Chances are that you are putting your arms under your head or above your head as well, which is also known to cause neck and shoulder pain.
Avoid sleeping on your stomach. Sew a tennis ball into the front of your pajamas so you will roll over and sleep on your side or back. If you have changed your pillow and stopped sleeping on your stomach but you still have morning neck pain, it’s time to make an appointment with your chiropractor.
Let’s face it, our cell phones have become such an integral part of our lives that, like our thumbs, we would be hard pressed to imagine life without them.
Unfortunately, all that time spent with your neck bent down to look at your cell phone or tablet takes a pretty hard toll on your neck. The added stress on the joints and ligaments can lead to actual changes in your neck structure.
Avoid text neck by raising the phone to more of an eye level, looking up and stretching your neck every few minutes, and just plain old setting it down and doing something else to give your neck a rest!
If your job requires you to use the phone a great deal and you are cradling it between your ear and your shoulder, it’s no wonder you have neck pain in the morning!
Use a hands-free device or a headset whenever possible. Sometimes speaker phones do the job nicely, allowing you to write or type while talking without having to twist your neck to cradle the phone.
Don’t skip over this one! We realize that you hear the words “drink water” so much that you want to simply gloss over this detail because, yeah, you get it, drink water, but water is more important than you realize.
The discs in your neck act like little shock absorbers between the vertebra in your neck. They are made up of mostly, you guessed it, water. You can help prevent neck pain and keep your neck more flexible by drinking those 8 glasses of water a day.
This one isn’t regarding your body weight, but the weight you carry in your hands, on your arms, or on your shoulders every day. Almost everyone carries some type of purse, briefcase, tote, or backpack. A very common mistake that gives people terrible neck pain is when they carry a heavy load on only one side of the body. This really strains the muscles in the neck.
Lighten the load as much as possible and carry only what you must. Then consider distributing the weight evenly so you can carry a bit on each side. If you use a backpack, don’t hold it on one shoulder, but use it as it was intended.
You might already be thinking of your mother’s lectures about sitting up straight or standing up straight. Don’t you hate it when you find out mom was right? She might not have mentioned that poor posture can lead to neck pain, however.
When sitting at work, the head and shoulders pushed forward position is the most common mistake that causes neck pain. Try one of the new devices that sounds an alarm if you slouch forward too much.
When the joints of the lower part of the neck become irritated, they often lead to painful muscle trigger points. These small knots in the fascia or the muscles are quite painful and often need massage to be released.
You can try to accomplish this yourself or you can get professional help via a chiropractic massage. Massage therapy is loaded with benefits, one of which is the relief from painful muscles and trigger points, which will offer less morning neck pain.
A chiropractic massage differs from a day spa type of massage in that it is performed under the guidance of the chiropractor. If you are experiencing neck pain on a regular basis, it’s a good idea to get a full exam and diagnosis performed by your local chiropractor to rule out other issues such as disc degeneration, osteoarthritis, or spinal stenosis.
After your exam, the chiropractor will direct the therapist on where they should apply more pressure or less pressure, where your trigger points are, and which type of massage would be best for your condition.
Sometimes, the cause of morning neck pain is never really known or it’s a reaction to stress. You can help to relieve that stiff, sore neck by performing some simple morning stretches, including these:
You might also want to consider taking up yoga or Pilates to keep your body flexible and limber, as well as for releasing stress that can lead to neck pain. If you want more stretching exercises, you can find them here.
If you have tried everything, including most of the tips in this guide, and you still suffer from chronic neck pain, you should probably consider seeing your chiropractor sooner, rather than later.
Chronic neck pain that does not respond to other treatments or stretching rarely goes away on its own. It’s very possible that you have a more serious, underlying problem that needs to be addressed. Chiropractic care is better at treating neck pain that almost any other type of treatment.
Chiropractors are highly trained specialists and can diagnose and treat almost all neck and back pain problems. If you need a different type of doctor, your chiropractor will give you a referral to the proper specialist that can treat you.
Chiropractic care can offer conservative, drug free treatment options that seek to stop the source of your pain, not simply mask it with addictive pain killers.
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Chronic neck pain can make every day a difficult one. We encourage you to call one of our offices at Better Health Chiropractic and Rehab for a no obligation appointment. You can also make an appointment online by clicking here.
Our helpful staff will be happy to answer all your questions and check with your insurance provider regarding coverage and copays or deductibles. If you have no insurance, you should read this article.
Don’t let that neck pain turn you into a pain in the neck. Call us today for a same day appointment.
Dr. Brent Wells has been a trusted chiropractor since moving his family from Oregon to Alaska back in 1998 and founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab – B.S. from Univ. of Nevada, Doctorate from Western States Chiropractic College, volunteer for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Foundation, and member of the American Chiropractic Association. As a chiropractor his focus is on family, including his 3 children and wife of 20+ years, his clinics, and ongoing education.