By Michael A. Smith, MD
Although some causes of neck pain may not be under your control, there are still many things you can do to minimize your risk. Let’s start by looking at how to better position your neck during sleep and then go over our favorite supplements for naturally relieving pain.
How to Position Your Neck While SleepingThe Harvard Medical Newsletter says that sleeping on your side or on your back are the best positions for your neck. If you sleep on your back, choose a rounded pillow to support the natural curve of your neck, with a flatter pillow cushioning your head.
Here are some other tips for supporting your neck while sleeping:
- Try using a feather pillow, which easily conforms to the shape of the neck. Feather pillows will collapse over time, however, so they should be replaced every year or so. A possible alternative is a memory foam pillow, which is a bit more expensive but usually lasts longer.
- Cervical pillows are specifically designed to support your neck, and most of these are now made with memory foam as well. If neck pain is disrupting your sleep, this can be a worthy investment.
- Avoid using too high or too stiff a pillow, as these can flex your neck and result in morning pain and stiffness.
- If you sleep on your side, keep your spine straight by using a pillow that is higher under your neck than your head.
Still, it’s worth trying to start the night sleeping on your back or side in a well-supported, healthy position.
Lack of Sleep Doesn’t Help
They found that people reporting problems in three of the categories were at an increased risk of developing chronic musculoskeletal pain after one year over those who reported no sleep problems. More often than not, the pain that people described was neck and back pain.
There are a lot of different theories about how lack of sleep can cause pain. But that’s not what this blog post is about. If sleep is a problem for you, we have a thorough sleep protocol with several natural suggestions that’s a great place to start.
Our Favorite Natural Pain RelieversLet’s keep this simple. We compiled our favorite pain relievers from past blogs, articles and protocols and listed them in the table below. Since they’re all-natural and safe, you can try one of them or you can try all of them. But, as always, speak with your doctor before starting any new supplement.
Do you suffer from chronic neck pain? What’s worked for you or not worked? Please let us know in the comments below!
- Int J Behav Med. 2008;15(4):254-62.
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