When I get patients ask me ‘why do I get neck pain?’ it can sometimes be difficult to answer. Not because I don’t know how to ease neck pain, but I don’t know their personal circumstances.
What I can suggest however, is that it is your nighttime routine that is causing you neck pain.
Why you ask? let me explain…
What many people don’t seem to know is that the head is designed to be in a position where your ears are vertically in line with your shoulders. By having your head in line with your shoulders, it gives stronger support to your head from your neck.
If your head is tilted slightly, then the support won’t be as great and it will cause your neck to feel the pressure.
Now this is something that many people do at nighttime and probably don’t really think of…
Sleeping with 2 pillows can cause havoc for your neck if they don’t support your head correctly. If you have 2 pillows they can sometimes prop your head upwards, tilting your heads forwards.
By doing this, your head is in an unusual position and will continue to be for roughly 8 hours. Not only this but your neck will also feel the pressure. Because your head isn’t supported correctly, your neck takes the role of support whilst you sleep.
That’s a lot of pressure for your neck for 8 hours!
A general rule I have is to sleep with one pillow. It may feel a little weird at first (and by weird I mean flat), but once you get used to it, it will make a great difference. If you only have one pillow, it will support your head, whilst allowing it to stay in line with the body, giving your neck a well deserved rest!
Another thing that you are probably doing that’s not helping your neck is…
Reading, checking emails or playing on your phone before bed. Whichever it is, the same action is applied to all of them. As you unwind in bed doing any of the above, your head is tilted.
Because your head is tilted, the support isn’t coming from your shoulders anymore, but from your neck. Right, so with this in mind, let me tell you what’s actually happening in your neck…
whilst your head is tilted and is not supported by your shoulders, your neck compensates for them. To do this, your neck tenses its muscles to keep your head where it is. If you think about it…
If your neck DIDN’T tense those muscles, your head would just fall forward!
So because your muscles are tensed, your body is in an unusual position. If you read, check emails or play on your phone for say about 1 hour each night, then is it any wonder that your neck is hurting?
But the pain doesn’t stop there…
Now imagine going to sleep on 2 pillows, as well as reading for about an hour or so. By doing this, you can see that you may be causing your neck to already be in pain before your head hits the pillow!
Yet to think it’s been in an unusual position since reading, now you’re going to put it into another unusual position by going to sleep for 8 hours on 2 pillows?
When you look back and think about it, it makes you truly think about what damage you’re doing to your neck without realising it.
So there you have it! Now you know how the head is designed, you understand why your neck pain occurs. As a result of knowing how easily your neck muscles can be tensed, you should be able to adjust your lifestyle accordingly!
Even if this means less reading time before bed and getting one supportive pillow for your head, you will be making a difference and will be easing any neck pain that may be caused at night!
If you’d like more tips like this one ways to naturally ease neck pain then here’s a FREE report for you to download instantly: http://www.paulgoughphysio.com/neck-shoulder-pain
You might know Paul as an expert Columnist who writes weekly health articles for TWO of the North East's biggest daily Newspapers, The Northern Echo And The Hartlepool Mail, he is a regular Speaker at Industry Seminars around the globe and a Radio Personality, often heard on the BBC. Paul has been an expert guest on dozens of Radio shows and regularly interviewed in newspapers, magazines and trade journals all over the world, including the Guardian.
Paul’s background included working extensively in the Premier League with a Top Professional Football Team, and since quitting his job in Professional Football in 2007, his Physio Practice has become the fastest growing in the UK and biggest in the North East. So successful, that companies like BUPA, ASDA, The Vela Group And Coast & Country, repeatedly retain his Physio company's services to keep healthy their own staff and workforce. Paul Gough Physio Rooms is now a large multi-physio, multi clinic speciality practice in Darlington, Durham, Guisborough and Hartlepool.
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