You must have been in a situation when waking up with a stiff neck, and you know there’s nothing worse because you are going to experience stabbing pain in this area all day long. But, as if that’s not enough, you are going to walk around looking all weird with tense posture too.
Now, if you wonder how long does a stiff neck last, you should know that it depends on many factors. The neck pain after sleeping is a quite common sensation, and it will probably stay present for a couple of hours, but the bad news is that it may stick for a few days too. There are things you can do to prevent this, but if it happens, after all, we are here offering some tips that will eliminate this unpleasant feeling for sure.
Why Your Neck Hurts After Sleeping?
The pain in this part of your body comes as a result of muscles weakening over time, mostly from poor posture, and it’s more likely you will experience the neck pain on the left side due to the wrong sleeping position. However, the day spent in front of a computer screen, or in the driving seat can be the cause of this discomfort as well.
We all have our favorite position we like to sleep on. Regarding this problem, combo sleepers are the lucky ones since they tend to switch the lying positions during the night, and therefore they don’t put the extensive pressure on one muscle set for too long. The stomach sleepers are the ones who are most exposed to this kind of pain since they spend the whole night lying with the neck twisted on one side. It causes the neck muscles strain and contract, so the next morning there might be a problem.
The wrong sleeping surface can also contribute to this issue. If it doesn’t provide you with the right amount of support, your belly will sink too much into the bed and put a lot of pressure on your spine, causing the neck or the back pain. So it would be great to have an adequate mattress for back pain.
The choice of a pillow you will sleep on is another crucial thing if you want to avoid neck pain after sleeping. The experts are recommending those filled with memory foam or feathers, given they will provide the right ground for your head and keep your spine well-aligned. The problem with other types, or the ones that are in general low quality made, is that they tend to lose the volume after some time, and leave your neck unsupported. That will create a tension of these muscles and, eventually, a painful stiffness.
If you had some kind of sports injury, or maybe you participated in a car accident, you could experience waking up with neck pain. The tricky thing is, at first, right after the injury happens, you may not feel a thing. But, tomorrow, this part of your body will be in a hard spasm, and each move will hurt like crazy. That’s why it’s mandatory after these kinds of unexpected events to go visit the doctor and check if there are some serious consequences. Mostly, it’s just a pulled muscle or wrongly twitched nerve that is causing the pain, so you probably won’t have to worry. Sleeping on a mattress for neck pain can be helpful too.
Most of us, however, experience the stiff neck after making some sudden moves. Tossing and turning during the night can be fatal and lead to this problem because just when your body is relaxed, you make a move that abruptly flexes the muscles. But mostly, the neck pain will be provoked by quickly jumping out of bed the moment you wake up in a cold room. The temperature difference between the warm bed and the sheets you were wrapped in and the cool air will be the reason why you walk around with a stiff neck.
How to Eliminate Neck Pain?
If you are wondering how to get rid of neck pain, there are some tricks you can try on, but we cannot guarantee they will help you since each case of neck pain is different. First of all, you can apply ice and warm lining at the painful place – ice for the first 48 hours and then start with hot compresses, warm showers, and heating pads. Then, take some pain relievers recommended by your doctor, in a daily allowable dosage. Try not holding your head and neck super still, like you have a security collar. That way, the muscles will be in greater spasm, and your movement will be very limited and very painful. So keep moving and do some light exercises that will stretch the neck muscle – side to side, up and down, and left to right.
Let partner or a friend gently massage the sore areas, and put on some relaxing creme that can be effective when it comes to injuries like this one. If it’s possible, purchase a mattress for back sleepers, because they are quite firm and have great support, which should work just fine in case of your super sensitive neck region. It would be best if you wouldn’t use pillows and sleep on a mattress only, but if you cannot find it comfortable enough, try with a special neck pillow. And in the end, consult with your physician about using the neck collar. It might be helpful, but you cannot rely on that for a long time. Overtime usage of this product can lead to weaker neck muscles.
Tips on How to Prevent Neck Pain
It would be great if you could prevent waking up with neck pain, your life would be so much easier. For that, try not sleeping on a stomach, but on your side or back. Mattresses for side sleepers can be of help here. Also, when you turn on the side, put a pillow between your legs in order to keep your neck aligned with your spine. If buying a new mattress, pick the one with a medium-firm feel. The same applies to the pillow choice – it should be neither too firm nor too soft to provide the right support. Use the one filled with feathers, it will adapt to the shape of your head and neck but have in mind that you should change them every year or two since they tend to lose their volume.
During the day, when you are walking, sitting, or standing, try to retain the right posture. Don’t bend your neck too much and too often. Put the monitor on a bunch of books, to make sure it’s at your eye level, and raise your hands so that your phone is in front of your face without the necessity to look down. Don’t talk with your phone being in between your shoulder and your head, the spasm in your neck will most likely surprise you quite soon. And of course, try exercising regularly, because that way you will strengthen your neck muscles and prevent stiffness of happening.
Neck Pain Remedies
If you experienced neck and shoulder pain from sleeping wrong, you could take over-the-counter painkillers like naproxen, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen. But you should not use them in continuity for more than a couple of days. At the same time, treat your problematic area with cold packs that can help reduce the inflammation in your neck muscles. The next thing is to apply a heat pack at the same place, every 20 minutes, in order to relax the stiff muscles. When the pain starts to retreat, start doing some exercises so that blood keeps floating in this area. The most important thing is not to stop moving overall, because that way, the spasm will get even worse.
The neck pain definitely isn’t a pleasant experience, we will agree on that. But you should know that with your actions, or more precisely the absence of those, you contribute to its frequent occurrence. For example, the regular exercise routine will drastically lower the possibility of something like this happens. Or, the good quality mattress and adequate pillow will support your body the right way, so there won’t be a reason for muscles to spasm. Besides that, try sleeping in a different position, it may contribute greatly to the solution of this problem.
Do You Have a Stiff Neck? Try These Simple Remedies – https://health.clevelandclinic.org/
Waking Up with Neck Pain: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention – https://www.healthline.com/