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There are a lot of causes of neck pain.

We live in a day and age of technology and as a result we suffer from bad posture. If you sit in front of a laptop, you probably slouch or cross your legs or don’t have the correct ergonomics. We all have cellphones, and we all text. How is your neck positioned? Perhaps you have already been made aware of these causes- perhaps not. But there is one specific cause that might be overlooked – how do you sleep? I don’t mean how well or how badly you sleep. What position do you find the most comfortable?

I would like to state that I’m sharing as a massage therapist and what I have learnt in this regard. This post does not contain everything there is to know about sleeping positions and the effects thereof. Rather, the aim of this post is to help get you started on the right track, and to get you looking in the right places for more information. Massage can aid in loosening those tight muscles and help with any muscular pain, but if you suffer from more than just muscular pain, have had an operation (fusions included) or have an injury, please go and see a specialist. They will be able to diagnose underlying problems and advise you on the correct sleeping habits/positions specifically suitable for your condition. Take a look at the links below for more information in this regard.

Now if you just want to find out a little more, and don’t suffer from any further conditions stated above, then as you are sitting there reading this, I would like you to indulge me a little (provided you don’t suffer from neck problems right at this moment). Turn your head so that you are looking at your left shoulder. How long do you think you could hold it like that before it starts to get uncomfortable? One more exercise –  as you are reading this, just tilt your head slightly to one side. How long would you be able to stay in that position before it got uncomfortable?

It wouldn’t take very long. And yet this is what we are doing for hours at a time while we are sleeping. The first exercise demonstrates the position of your neck if you sleep on your tummy. The second is if you are sleeping on your side. In the first exercise you will notice that you are twisting your neck, which is really bad news for the vertebra, and in both the above exercises, the muscles are lengthened on the one side and shortened on the other for long periods at a time. It’s no wonder you suffer from neck pain! These positions could also be a contributing factor to your lower back pain or shoulder pain.

These bad habits could result in compressed discs, trapped nerves, tension headaches, and more. So what do we do about it? You’ve taught your body bad habits. Now you need to undo that. Is it going to take time? Yes. Is it going to take persistence and determination? Definitely.  How do you change a habit? By correcting it. You could go to a Sleep Specialist- which is highly recommended- but here are a few points to get you started:

Sleeping on your tummy:

Now it is not recommended to sleep on your tummy at all,  but it is really difficult to correct a lifetime habit. So while training your muscles in the correct habit-

  • Sleep with a flat pillow, or no pillow at all.

 

Sleeping on your side:

  • Make sure your pillow offers enough support for the gap between your shoulder and your neck.
  • Sleep with a pillow between your legs to keep the hips aligned
  • Sleep with a pillow (or a rolled towel/blanket) under the waist to keep your spine supported

 

Sleeping on your back:

This is the most recommended position to sleep in.

  • Sleep with a pillow under your knees
  • Don’t cross your legs
  • Sleep with a flat pillow under the arch of your lower back
  • Make sure the pillow under your neck is not puffy

Click here to watch this video for more in-depth information  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=or03pT-D8cQ

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