Recently, i talked to a patient about this issue. Waking up with a stiff neck, stiff and sore shoulders is not ideal because you are starting your day with pain. You should be waking up feeling refreshed, ready to go and tackle the day ahead. So what some of the possible reasons for this? More importantly, What the solutions to getting rid of neck and shoulder pain?
- You may be using too many pillows at night. This creates forward head posture, stretching your neck muscles and ligaments too much. It may be comfortable while you are reading, but if you fall asleep like this, this can be cause of a stiff neck in the mornings. -Solution: Use one cervical support pillow at night. Choose a contoured neck pillow, one side a little softer, one side a little firmer. Sleeping with a neck roll can really help the alignment in the cervical spine. I would recommend the arc4life linear gravity pillow. Not to firm, not to soft, just the support you need in your neck. Plus it comes in 3 sizes.
- You may be sleeping with a bad neck position at night- for example sleeping on your stomach. This sleeping position is not good for your head, neck, shoulders and upper back area. You are putting unnecessary stress on all your muscles. Other positions that are not great for your body are sleeping on the sofa or in a recliner -Solution: Train yourself to stop sleeping on your stomach. It is not recommended at all. Use a tear drop pillow to help you adjust to sleeping on your side.
- Your pillow does not give you enough neck support at night - Solution:Change your pillow if this the case. A flat limp pillow is not going to give your neck the support that it needs. Remember we have a C Curve in our neck. A cervical support pillow should make provisions for this natural neck curve.
- Check the positions of your arms as well. Some people sleep with thier arms above their head. This can also be the cause of soreness in the morning -Solution:Be cognizant of how you fall asleep. Be in the most relaxed natural position as possible.
- Your mattress sags in the middle- this is just not ideal for comfortable sleeping at night. -Solution:Change your mattress. It does not have to be expensive. Your back and neck will thank you for a decent mattress. Spend 15 minutes on the bed in your usual sleep positions when you try out the right mattress for you. You don't have to buy the most expensive mattress on the market either.
- You worked out the day before, particularly your trapezius or your shouldersSolution: Don't forget to warm up before and after a workout. This can make a big difference in how you feel after your workout. Also, a heating pad for your upper back can do wonders as well.
- You have misalignments in your neck. This can be due to having bad posture during the day: a poorly set up workstation, poor studying habits, or doing repitious tasks during the day -Solution:See your local chiropractor. This is what they specialize in. Particularly if you have been involved in an accident or an injury. Best to get therapy asap. Also they can give you postural exercises for your neck and upper back and help you make improvements to your daily activities of daily living.With regular chiropractic adjustments, traction, and therapy you will be pain free sooner than later.
Additonal Reading Resources:
- Optimal Posture For Your Neck
- Neck pain Resulting from a C5, C6, C7 or C8 Radiculopathy
- Sleeping on your Side with a cervical support neck pillow
- Neck Pain Relief: Neck Traction Units that Really Work to Stop Neck Pain
- Positioning Products for Better Sleep: Getting into the right position makes all the difference