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Life in Motion

How to Stop Waking Up With a Stiff and Sore Neck

Back, Neck & Spine

Many people have experienced the pain of waking up with a stiff and sore neck. While some causes of a stiff neck are unavoidable, being aware of the way you are sleeping and using the right pillow can help to prevent this uncomfortable situation.

Physiatrists in the NEBH Spine Center explain that sleeping on your side or back are positions that are easiest on the neck. Try experimenting with these different sleeping positions to see what works best for you:

  • If you sleep on your side, try putting a pillow between your legs, which can help to keep your hips, pelvis and spine aligned, taking stress off the neck.
  • If you sleep on your back, put a pillow under your knees, which can help maintain the normal curve of your lower back. Try putting a pillow under each arm, which many people find takes the stress off of their neck.

Along with sleeping positions, finding the right pillow is important. Try using a rounded pillow to support the curve on your neck. You can try a pillow with memory foam, which conforms to the contour of your head and neck, allowing for more support.

As sleep position and pillows can help your stiff neck, sleep itself also plays a large role in musculoskeletal pain. Not getting enough sleep can actually make you more sensitive to pain, so do your best to ensure you are consistently getting a good night’s sleep. If you have any type of persistent pain, see a musculoskeletal expert.

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