Whether your job involves hard work and lots of flexibility or simply looking down at a computer screen, neck pain and a sore neck can be a real threat to productivity.
Neck pain and associated problems are responsible for thousands of chiropractic visits a year. And while seeing a medical professional is certainly important (more on this later), there’s more than one way to fix that sore neck of yours.
A sore or stiff neck often stems from sleep—where the body is twisted and contorted in the night to fit into a variety of unnatural positions. This can cause misalignments that travel up the spine and cause you to reach for another bottle of pain medication.
If you’re suffering from a sore neck that’s keeping you from doing your job or just plain living your life, try out these proven methods to straighten back out and stand tall once again.
It All Starts In The Back
Before we mention a few of our favorite methods to fix that neck of yours, let’s get a little bit more into the root of the problem. Or rather, the back of it.
Your back consists of your spinal column—which holds the millions of nerve cells that make up your central nervous system. These nerves are not only responsible for reporting pain. They tell your body when to move and how. With the spine, you wouldn’t be able to get out to bed.
Hyperextending the neck or neck muscles is the same as doing so to your back—as the entire system is connected. If you’re hoping to fix your neck problem, it all starts with your back.
Most of the time, back problems begin and end when you’re stationary. Human anatomy wasn’t designed to sit or be still for very long, so if you work a sedentary job or sleep in strange positions, you are bound to pull something.
If you’re working in an office or don’t move much throughout the day, we strongly recommend increasing mobility exercises and working to get yourself moving again. But if your back problems continue after this, then we need to look to the one place where you don’t move.
Aside from lifestyle choices in the daytime, poor sleep habits are the number one culprit behind your back and neck problems. And to remedy these, we’ll need to look at how you sleep and where you sleep. Behind these questions will lie your answer.
Fix What You Sleep On
Let’s break it down point-by-point.
The first thing we need to do is fix what you sleep on. For pretty much everyone, this involves your mattress.
While typically ignored or only appreciated after a long day, your mattress is vital to the long-term success of your neck. Think about the last time you replaced your mattress or turned it over. Do you remember the last time you did either of those things?
Do you know who even made your mattress?
If you’re not quite sure, this is a great place to start.
If you haven’t bought mattresses recently, we’ve moved beyond box springs and stuffing. Most mattresses today are made up of memory foam. This material allows your mattress to be soft where it needs to be and support everything else.
For example, if you’re a side sleeper, you’ll want your hips and shoulder-blade to sink into the mattress while your torso is held up. With memory foam, this is often a lot easier than with a traditional mattress.
So if you haven’t fixed your mattress, this is step one for you.
For others, you may already have a pretty good mattress, or you’re not really in the market to buying one. That’s okay. For you, we’d recommend checking out your pillow.
Aside from your mattress, your pillow is vital to sleep. Pillows help keep your head supported and the neck aligned with the rest of the back. A good pillow allows the body to relax and remain in neutral spine alignment.
If you’re not sure where to start with a new pillow, try out Sleepyhood.com for no-nonsense reviews on cervical pillows. Cervical pillows, as the name implies, are specifically designed to help you out with your back and neck problems by supporting the head.
These pillows usually have a dip in the center that you place your head in. If used properly, the bulbous outer section will rise and hold the neck in place. No more neck pain!
Of course, all of this is heavily reliant not only on what you sleep on but how you sleep as well.
Fix How You Sleep
We hate to break it to you, but it is time to break that stomach-sleeping habit.
If you’re still suffering from neck problems after getting a top-of-the-line mattress and pillow, the real problem is most likely your sleeping position.
For back and neck problems, you’ll want to sleep on your back. This will keep the back in proper alignment easiest, and you can opt for one of those cervical pillows we were discussing for extra support.
Side sleeping is alright if you have a pillow with the right height, but you can forget about stomach sleeping. This means of sleeping forces the neck to contort and push the head to one side to breathe. It’s about as bad for you as it sounds. (See also: 7 Ways You Can Use To Sleep Better And Recover Faster)
Get Some Help
Finally, if none of the above methods work, it’s never too late to check out a licensed chiropractor in your area.
You might have misaligned your back during an injury or otherwise need more than the gentle touch of a mattress to get things right. A few visits to trusted chiropractics will do wonders for getting you on the right track and back on your feet again.
No matter how you approach it, we hope that you find the right method to straighten out that neck and never worry about neck pain again.
About The Author:
Jose Perez is a digital marketing entrepreneur who was frustrated by his own experience of finding a good neck pillow online. After tossing and turning from many nights of restless sleep, he created sleepyhood.com to help others in similar situations get a restful good night sleep.