If you wake up in the morning with a sore neck, then you are not alone. Neck stiffness and neck pain are common bedside symptoms often occur as a result of bad sleep posture. This condition is medically known as 'torticollis' which literally means (torti = twisted / collis = neck) a twisted neck. Bad posture or low temperature causes the neck muscles to spasm and stiffen. Following are few remedies to overcome neck stiffness while sleeping.
When you get neck stiffness...
- Try gentle neck exercises: Stretching your neck muscles gently can help them relax. This relieves the neck pain and stiffness to some extent. Take care not to overdo it. If it's painful, then you are stretching too much.
- Get a hot shower: A nice, hot shower can relax your neck muscles and reduce the soreness.
- Use moist heat: Applying a hot towel or a heat pad over the neck and upper back can also relax the muscles and reduce the tissue swelling and inflammation.
- Use an ice pack: Alternatively, you can use an ice pack to reduce the swelling.
- Take some painkillers: If the above measures fail, use over-the-counter analgesics to get some relief. They will also help reduce the inflammation.
- Talk to your doctor: If neck pain is severe, associated with fever or lasts longer than a week, then it is best to consult your doctor. Neck pain maybe a sign of an underlying ailment, so it needs to be excluded in chronic neck pain. He or she will direct you for further tests or physiotherapy if necessary.
How to prevent neck stiffness from sleeping...
- Use the right pillow: The pillow needs to support the head and keep the neck straight as possible. If you sleep on a flat pillow, then your neck muscles will overstretch. When it is too big, then your neck has to bend to accommodate the extra height.
- Use a firm mattress: A good mattress will support your body to keep it straight. Maintaining a good posture can avoid the extra tension exerted on your neck.
- Avoid cold breeze: Whether it's the open window or air conditioner, cold air can tighten your neck muscles. Take care not to expose your neck muscles to cold for too long.
- Do neck exercises: Keeping your neck flexible and strong is one way of reducing your chances of getting a sore neck. Stretch your neck before going to bed to relieve the tension build up during the day. Also try doing some neck exercises as soon as you wake up.