How to Sleep with Neck Pain
Neck pains are often expected to just come and go – so people don’t pay much attention to it. But shrugging off the pain may actually be one of the reasons why it’s still hurting in the first place. Look, it’s the last thing you want when you’re really exhausted at day’s end.
Causes of Neck Pain
The causes of neck pain fall on a wide spectrum. You can easily strain it from sitting down in front of the computer, lifting weights, or sleeping in the wrong position. Other causes are rather serious such as joint, disc, or muscle trauma from an accident.
It’s best to understand where your pain is coming from, and then looking for relief that suits your condition comes next.
Best Sleeping Positions for Neck Pain
1. On Your Back
The first thing to consider is a pillow – it’s in direct contact with your neck after all. The general rule is that your pillow HAS TO mimic the natural curvature of your neck as if you’re standing up with good posture.
For best results, pair a medium-firm thick pillow with a firm mattress so the neck is aligned with the head, and your back won’t sink in. Sleeping on your back may prove difficult for people with soft mattresses; it will sink and put the spine in an unnatural and curved position. If you do have a soft mattress, a thin/flatter pillow should work to balance the sinking and keep the back in neutral position.
Some people suggest rolling a towel, sliding it underneath your neck and inside the pillowcase for additional cushioning and support. If you’re looking to invest on sleep health, ergonomic memory foam pillows can do the job flawlessly for you. They’re made to study the contours of your neck and provide ample support to it.
A back-sleeper’s spine position on the Ecosa pillow
2. On Your Side
In general, side-sleepers need thicker pillows than do back-sleepers. The head and neck need to be kept in between the shoulders. This keeps your spine elongated in a neutral position, and in turn keeps air passages open while you sleep.
The broadness of your shoulders is a good indicator for pillow thickness. If you have broad shoulders, you’d want a thicker pillow than a person with narrow shoulders.
The Ecosa pillow, for example, works for all shoulder widths because it has a higher and lower side to it. If you want some extra elevation, it also comes with two pads that can be used to adjust the height of the pillow. One additional pad for medium-large builds, and two additional pads for large-extra large builds (refer to image below).
Maintain your spine’s neutral position AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. Healthy sleeping habits can make or break a good night’s sleep – and your neck too.
For neck pain that persists, accompanied by high fever or numbing/tingling in the arms and legs, seek a doctor immediately.