In recent times with the coming of smartphones, laptops most of us have our heads bent over these screens for long periods. This, in turn, has led to the development of neck pain for most individuals. What most people call neck pain is actually a stiff neck which develops as a result of poor posture or misuse which leads to the weakening of your neck muscles over time.
The pain you feel when your neck muscles become weak is as a result of your joints been out of place, so they no longer move smoothly when you try to turn your head either to the left or right. This happens because the joint gets hooked on something like the pulling of a muscle or the hitting of a nerve or maybe even both. What happens after this is an instant sharp pain which sends your body into a protective spasm. In response, your body will cause you to feel like you should not move an inch because it doesn’t want to hurt anymore.
When it comes to sleeping positions, there are some positions which are bad for you and will lead to neck pain. One such position is sleeping on your stomach. In most cases when you sleep this way, you would have to twist your neck to the side and be in the prone position for an extended period. This would most likely lead to you developing a stiff neck or neck pain. Therefore, it is advisable that you sleep on your side or on your back, so your neck has the right amount of support and not under a lot of pressure to balance your head. It isn’t as easy as we think because our bodies and minds are already programmed towards certain sleeping positions. So, while in a deep sleep, our necks might fall into a situation that places a lot of strain on it but sometimes when this happens, our brains might send some signals to our bodies which automatically makes us adjust positions to give the neck some relief but, in some cases, we don’t get the message and then stay in that neck pain build up position till we wake up.
Despite this, there are some ways by which we can get rid of neck pain which comes from sleeping in the wrong position.
To make your muscles easier to move, it is always advisable to warm them up first. So, before you start any stretch of your neck muscles, warm them up by using a hot compress on your neck, taking a hot shower or by using a heating pad. Although you need to bear in mind, not to overstretch those muscles. This is really important as it might lead to more pains. So here are some stretching exercises you can try out;
*Slowly bend forward, try to touch your chin to your chest. Make sure your shoulders are down and relaxed. Hold the pose for 20 seconds then repeat.
* Lie down on your back on a firm surface, bend your knees with your feet flat on the firm surface, make sure your neck is supported by a good bed rest pillow. Slowly nod your head and hold the position for 10 seconds then repeat.
*Slowly bring your ear to your shoulder on one side while using your hand to apply pressure from the right side. Then hold for 10 seconds. Repeat the stretch on the other side.
*Try a light twist of your head from side to side while applying slight pressure to your chin to make your neck move some more to that direction. Hold the position for 20 seconds, slowly move your head back to the center, then repeat on the other side.
There are other ways by which you can get rid of neck pain. Here they are;
*Slowly push your head back towards your head rest or your hands and hold it for 30 seconds, then repeat.
*Apply heat or ice to the affected area on your neck. Use the ice for 48-72 hours followed by the heat. The heat could be hot showers, hot compresses or a heating pad.
* You can also take some mild pain relievers like Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen.
*Avoid engaging in painful activities so as not to cause inflammation of the affected area.
*Engage in a slow range of motion exercises by tilting your head up and down in addition to side by side to relieve pressure on the neck.
*Gently stretch your neck muscles by following the steps above.
*Massage the affected area gently preferably with a warm compress.
*Try sitting up straight when using a monitor or your smartphone. Try keeping these gadgets at eye level to avoid tilting your head down for long periods.
*Roll your shoulders backward and downwards 10 times in addition to squeezing your shoulder blades together 10 times.
*Avoid lousy sleeping positions by never sleeping on your stomach. Sleep either on your side or on your back with your neck correctly balanced.
*Try using a good bed rest pillow or firm mattress without a pillow. Use a neck brace for a short period. Position a pillow for support of your head and neck.
In all his try and avoid stress. Make sure your neck is not under any pressure from carrying your head because your head weighs around 11lb. Now, that is a lot of weight for your neck to take. So, make sure you give your neck as much support as possible.
After trying out these various ways of getting rid of neck pain, from stretching to massages to proper pillows for support of your neck to application of heat, if the neck pain still persists, and you find out that the pain keeps building up over time, kindly consult a doctor to get a proper diagnosis and the right treatment.