Have you ever decided to take a quick nap during the day and then realize it may have been a mistake. Why is it a mistake you ask? Well, you may have awoken with a stiff neck due to how you were sleeping, what you were sleeping on, or a few other factors. In this post. We’ll be diving into why you may be waking up with a stiff neck after sleeping and what you can do about it to prevent it from happening in the future.
How Does Neck Stiffness Develop During Sleep?
There are a few reasons why a stiff neck may concur during your sleep. Below are the most common reasons a stiff neck after sleeping may be occurring:
•Awkward Angle: We’ve all slept or taken naps on something which caused us to feel the effects of the awkward angle. Whether this is a strangely shaped pillow, a blanket in place of a supportive pillow, or even sleeping without a pillow altogether.
•Sudden Movements During Sleep: Sometimes we may be having a scary dream and jump or move suddenly during our sleep. This sudden movement may sometimes cause a strain or pulled muscle in our neck.
•Preexisting Injury: If you’ve ever encountered whiplash, you may not feel the effects of it until many hours or a couple of days later.
•Bad Pillow: An unsupportive pillow which is lacking support and structure may end up causing your neck to be stiff due to your muscles overcompensating for said lack of support.
•Sleeping On the Couch: Most couches lack the proper support, structure, and design which you’d see in a bed. For this reason, couches are not the ideal sleeping area if you’re trying to avoid a stiff neck upon awakening from your sleep.
A stiff neck is never fun. Read our next tip to help your stiff neck recover in due time with gentle remedies.
Gentle Remedies for a Stiff Neck After Sleeping
•Ice or Heat Therapy: If there’s any type of swelling or discomfort, applying ice for no more than 20 minutes may help matters. A warm shower can help loosen and relax the muscles in your neck to allow for better mobility and functionality.
•Over-the-Counter Pain Medication: Ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be good for relieving pain temporarily. If pain persists for more than a day or two, you’ll want to consult with your doctor.
•Gentle Stretching or Self-Massage: gently stretching or rotating your neck, if possible, is a great way to reintroduce movement and flexibility back into the neck area. However, you’ll not want to push it too much. Listen to your body and only do what you’re comfortable with.
•Allowing Your Body to Rest and Relax for a Day or Two: Sometimes all we need is just a day or two of rest and relaxation. Time can be a great healer in many cases and if your stiff neck just happened this morning, give it a day or two of rest to see if it’s resolved by then.
How to Prevent a Stiff Neck While Sleeping
A stiff neck while sleeping is a disturbance to your overall sleep patterns. Here are some easy to implement solutions for you to try out:
•Modify Your Sleeping Position: Your sleeping position may be causing you to have a stuff neck and you may not even realize it. Try different sleeping positions and you may be impressed with how much it improves your stiff neck.
•Find the Right Pillow for You: The right pillow makes all the difference in your sleep style and whether or not you have neck stiffness in the morning. Choosing a high-quality, supportive pillow may be just what you need to resolve your neck stiffness.
•Ensure the Room Temperature is Comfortable for You: When the room is the right temperature for you, you’re more likely to sleep in a much more relaxed position. If it’s too hot or too cold, your body may be tense and uncomfortable throughout the night. This in turn may lead to a stiff neck in the morning due to not being able to fully decompress during your sleep.
Physical Therapy for Stiff Neck
Our in-house physical therapists are experts when it comes to resolving issues of the neck, back, and spine. If you’ve been experiencing a stiff neck and you’re seeking a non-invasive solution for your neck, you’ll want to reach out to us. Our physical therapists will work with you and provide unique recommendations based on what they see firsthand.
When to Seek Immediate Medical Attention for Your Stiff Neck
It’s important to note there may be a severe medical condition going on if your stiff neck is lingering for more than a day or two. If your stiff neck is accompanied by a severe headache, fever, arm numbness, tingling, or weakness; you’ll want to seek immediate medical attention.
Choose Neurosurgery & Spine Consultants for Your Stiff Neck Solutions
If you’ve been seeking solutions for your stiff neck and are interested in learning more about how we can help with issues pertaining to the neck, back, and spine; you’ll want to contact us using the form below. We’ll be sure to have you seen by one of our specialists as soon as possible. We look forward to hearing from you soon!
DISCLAIMER: No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.