5 Ways To Prevent Neck And Shoulder Blade Pain When Sleeping
Are you tired of waking up with neck and shoulder blade pain that lingers throughout the day? Do you want to make the most of your sleep and wake up feeling refreshed and pain-free? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
Waking up with neck and shoulder blade pain can throw your entire day off-kilter, preventing you from focusing on what you need to do and hampering even the simplest movements. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to avoid this pain, often with simple tweaks to established routines.
Keep reading to explore ways to prevent neck and shoulder pain during sleep.
Use A Pillow That Supports Your Neck And Head
An unsuitable pillow is one of the primary causes of neck and shoulder pain from sleep. Ideally, your head should be in a neutral position with your ears aligned with your shoulders. When you sleep with the pillow too high or too low, it can put a strain on your neck and shoulders.
However, people have varying sleeping positions. Depending on how you tend to sleep, consider the following options for different sleeping positions:
- Back sleepers: A pillow of medium thickness supports the natural curvature of your neck. Physiotherapists recommend firm contour pillows designed to provide support under the neck.
- Side sleepers: Firm pillows with extra lift maintain alignment between your head, neck, and spine, reducing strain while sleeping.
- Stomach sleepers: While this position isn’t recommended, soft, thin pillows reduce strain while sleeping on your stomach.
If you wake up regularly with neck and shoulder blade pain, try switching to a pillow that’s more suitable for your sleeping style.
Be Conscious Of Your Sleep Posture
Being more mindful of your sleeping position is an excellent way to avoid cumbersome pain in your neck and shoulders. It’s common for people to fall asleep while watching TV, often with a pillow elevating the body. This puts the body in an unnatural position as you sleep, placing strain on the neck and shoulders.
Consider the following tips:
- When you begin to feel sleepy, make sure your pillow allows your head to be in a neutral position. As mentioned earlier, having it too high or too low strains your neck and shoulders.
- If you sleep on your back, position a pillow under your knees to maintain the natural curve of your spine.
- If you prefer sleeping on your side, use a sufficiently elevated pillow to support the neck. You may also place a pillow between your knees to support your spine and lower back.
Often, you can attribute neck and shoulder pain to poor sleeping habits. Being more mindful of how you settle into sleep is the first step to correcting them.
Seek Professional Help
If you follow the tips above and still experience neck and shoulder pain, consulting a healthcare provider is best. For example, chiropractic services can diagnose spinal misalignment, that can strain spinal joints, discs, and muscles.
Healthcare professionals can assess your condition, offer personalized recommendations, and suggest appropriate treatments and therapies to alleviate discomfort in your neck and shoulders.
Consider Changing Your Mattress
Consult your healthcare provider to determine if changing your mattress could alleviate your discomfort. The body sinks into beds that are too soft, hindering proper alignment. Meanwhile, hard ones fight off the body’s natural tendency to align itself. A medium-firm mattress supports your neck and spine, promoting ideal alignment during sleep.
Use Relaxation Techniques
Stress and tension can contribute to neck and shoulder blade pain. If tweaking your head pillow and sleeping position doesn’t work, consider incorporating relaxation techniques into your bedtime routine, such as:
- Breathing exercises or meditation: These practices release tension, shift your focus from stressors, and create a more tranquil mindset conducive to sleep.
- Create a more favorable sleep environment: For example, maintaining a cool room temperature staves off potential discomfort during sleep, preventing you from tossing and turning. Meanwhile, white noise or ambient sounds can help lull you into relaxation, promoting more restful sleep.
- Performing stretches after waking up: Performing gentle stretches shortly after waking can help alleviate residual pain and stiffness. Executing neck rolls and shoulder and upper back stretches help relieve tension and enhance circulation.
While living a stress-free life can be challenging, these practices help prepare you for a more relaxed and restful sleep.